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Long-distance run-up towards 2020 vision

It already feels like a drawn-out summer, but the winter is going to be even longer with the domestic season not due to reach its conclusion until June 20, 2020.

Like many other clubs, Tigers returned to work on June 24 for the start of the pre-season programme. The Tig makes that 362 days (2020 is a Leap Year) before the next Premiership Final.

The Tig recalls a book written by Sunday Times journalist Stephen Jones in the era when the game went professional was called Endless Winter and you wonder what he would call a sequel in 2019/20.

But now we have the fixtures and we can start looking ahead again rather than continuing to kick over the trials, tribulations and results of 2018/19.

The action starts with the Premiership Sevens in September and then the opening rounds of the Premiership Cup before the league gets going again in mid-October. But with the fixtures announcement this week, now we have a framework for the months to come.

When the list was revealed, The Tig followed the usual routine of looking in detail at the first month, then picking out the highlights of Christmas and the run-in.

After opening away to a Worcester Warriors team who scored a double over Tigers last season, champions Saracens and semi-finalists Gloucester come to Welford Road in weeks two and three. With senior players returning at different times from the World Cup, a trip to London Irish, who have signed some big names in anticipation of their top-flight return, follows.

Following just four league games, we go into Europe at about the same time as the UK is supposed to come out, and there’s a league trip to Northampton thrown in for good measure. Then we’re into Christmas.

The halfway point in the league, delayed by the World Cup, doesn’t arrive until the last week in February, but even at this stage, supporters will have clocked derbies against Wasps and Saints on back-to-back weekends in May as massive, no matter where the respective teams sit in the table by then.

Even just thinking about it, The Tig is starting to get over the summertime blues.