Is the season really only three-and-a-bit weeks old? How is everyone going to keep up with this for another eight months?
From the despondency of defeat in Round 1 to the flurry against the Falcons and the emotions of the 14-man defeat at Wasps a week ago, Tigers fans have had more rollercoaster rides than Alton Towers on a Bank Holiday weekend, and we’re only 240 minutes of rugby into the Gallagher Premiership campaign.
In such a long, testing season, there are bound to be troughs in levels of interest and excitement, but the whole league looks like it is still celebrating the long, hot summer and the points have been pouring in at both ends of stadiums up and down the country.
After three games, Tigers have the worst ‘points against’ and ‘tries against’ totals in the league and those stats provide a challenge for Geordan and the team to address, though not at the expense of the attacking intent of Tuilagi, May, Ford, Youngs, Holmes, Veainu and the rest.
The ban for Will Spencer is a tough blow because he has been settling into a role that the team has been crying out for, and Geordan will have to hope someone else steps up in a similar vein to Mike Williams to help provide the ball that such a talented backline craves.
It’s early days for Geordan and his team, and Tigers already have some ground to make after one win in three games, but there have been plenty of positives to provide a platform for what happens next.
The Tig has particularly enjoyed the form of George Ford, prompting like a general from fly-half; seeing Manu playing with a smile on his face and a skip in his step; and Jonny May providing four quality tries already. Gareth Owen and Kyle Eastmond have produced some flashes of their class in the midfield and we’ve all enjoyed seeing the youthful promise of Jordan Olowofela and Tom Hardwick when they’ve had a taste of top-flight rugby.
The form of Williams in the second row, the craft of Brendon O’Connor and Guy Thompson’s addition to the back-row options, plus the grunt provided by heavyweights Spencer, David Denton and Sione Kalamafoni provide basis for hope of a big season up front too.
The glorious first half-hour against Falcons and the gritty determination of the second 40 minutes at Wasps provide a benchmark for players and staff. With 18 rounds to play, we'd all better hold on tight.