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Pieces falling into place for the new season

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Four weeks and counting until the start of the new Aviva Premiership season and The Tig cannot wait for it to kick off.

Slowly but surely the dates are being ticked off and the pieces are falling into place.
Pre-season training. Tick. The boys have been back in for five weeks now and the noises coming out of Oval Park are hugely encouraging. Matt Smith says it is one of the toughest summers he has known and the new boys all seem to be settling in well – underlined by a tweet from prop Pat Cilliers this week in which he wrote: “Just wanted to thank the players, coaches and staff for welcoming me into their proud club.”
In one sentence he’s on the road to cult status!
Fixtures. Tick. One of the most exciting days of the summer. When do we play our nearest and dearest? Who do we play on the opening day? Who are we playing at Christmas? What about the last day? Now the countdown can really start.
Season ticket. Tick. Renewed. On the Terrace. Same spot. Interest-free, fee-free Direct Debit makes it a doddle. You can almost smell the mud and the Deep Heat.
Kit launch. Tick. The new home kit gets a huge thumbs up from the Tig. A return to what many fans see as the traditional red, white and green hoops.
It is a classic design and the sponsors Holland & Barrett, STIHL, Mattioli Woods, Breedon and Fischer Future Heat look smart on it.
Singha Sevens. Tick. Now, The Tig is not really a sevens fan. It’s all about the XVs on a cold afternoon on the Terrace, but the Singha Sevens does help scratch the itch of no rugby through the summer and heralds the return of proper rugby charging over the hill.
First friendly. It’s coming. Ospreys away next Friday. The first chance to find out how the boys are developing. Who will start? What partnerships will there be at half-back, in the front row, in the second row, at centre? What kit will they wear? What youngsters might be given their chance? Who of the newcomers will play?
Now it’s getting exciting!
The home friendly. It’s coming. Going through the traditional pre-match routine. The walk up to Welford Road. Warm-up with a pint of Tiger and a pie. Meeting familiar faces. Greeting unfamiliar away supporter faces with our world-renowned Tigers banter!
Now it’s getting really exciting!
The first game. It’s coming. Away to Glos. Not ideal that it’s away and on a Friday, but Kingsholm is one of the best away grounds in the league. A proper rugby ground, that has a lot in common with Welford Road, not least the partisan support! Chippies and pubs across the road, banter in The Shed, and the return of the Aviva Premiership.
The first home game. It’s coming. See the routine for the home friendly but with added Tigers in the Park and nerves and tension because now it matters. And, no disrespect to Newcastle and Worcester, but with it being the new noisy neighbours this first home game feels like it matters more than in previous seasons. Bring. It. On.