The top four is out of reach but for The Tig the old feeling of semi-final day came back with a vengeance last Saturday when Tigers hosted league leaders Exeter Chiefs.
The Tig spent the morning pacing aimlessly as nervous energy got the better of any attempt to sit still for more than a couple of minutes at a time.
Bristol clawing their way back from a 19-3 deficit against Bath at Twickenham didn’t help, and then there was Saracens against Newcastle and the who-do-we-really-want-to-lose clash between Wasps and Worcester.
None of it made easy viewing.
Rhys Priestland’s simple penalty coming back off the post made for another anxious walk around, halted only by the same player adding Bath’s bonus-point try moments later. The conversion gave them a 14-point lead again at just about the same time Wasps had gone 14-3 up against Worcester.
But then Bristol rallied again and The Tig became a (sorry) Bath supporter for the closing few minutes at Twickenham before repenting that sin at the final whistle.
At the very moment Tom Youngs led the Tigers out of the tunnel ahead of kick-off against Exeter, Saracens scored a try to give them some daylight against the Falcons, and The Tig’s heartrate just about returned to normal. Sadly, it was not an omen for what was to follow at Welford Road.
The pace of the game and the force of the physical contact looked like a semi-final too. Unlike a semi-final, though, Tigers live to fight another day despite defeat and there are still four more chances to put the season’s outcome to rest.
The Tig enjoyed the Pacific Islanders XV in the Fanzone pages of the match programme last Saturday, celebrating the club’s links with the great rugby nations of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
Led by Freddie Tuilagi and featuring his brothers Alesana and Manu alongside Seru Rabeni and Waisale Serevi in the backline, the Islanders XV would give any opposition nightmares.
The Fijian forward Marika Vunibaka could be considered an unlucky omission after scoring a hat-trick on his debut, though it came in his only appearance for the club.
But The Tig would make one change, with Christian Loamanu missing out at openside in favour of Shane Jennings. He’s a specialist No7 and he’d be perfectly suited to winning turnover ball for his frightening colleagues to run in broken field.
And he qualifies as an Irelander!