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Relief over-rides celebration after second away win

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It is maybe slightly self-indulgent to describe a victory as feeling like defeat in a league as competitive as the Aviva Premiership, but there were many who described the trip to Newcastle in those terms last weekend.

The feeling would have turned into reality too if the Falcons had nailed a drop-goal shot directly in front of the posts with the last kick of the game. In the immediate aftermath and on the long journey home, certainly, there was little in the way of celebration from the Tigers.
But the ‘Get Out Of Jail’ card played in the final 25 minutes of the Round 1 win at Gloucester had somehow come out on top of the pack again.
No one is making excuses for the performance and everyone inside and outside of Oval Park knows there is work to be done to rectify some of the faults – better care of the ball and decision-making in possession especially but also finding that ruthless streak when scoring opportunities arise. In a season which does not allow for many slip-ups if a top two or indeed top-four place is to be secured, the yellow cards have already been waved.
But, on the other side of the coin, a win is a win and Tigers returned to training this week on two victories from three games, even if both of the wins could have gone the other way on the day if fortune had been lacking.
Four points from a trip to Newcastle is four more than the team managed there last year and four more than anyone else has managed so far – Sale Sharks lost at Kingston Park on the opening day.
Five points at Gloucester is one more than Tigers took at Kingsholm a season ago too.
So we reach Round 4 unbeaten away from home, albeit against two sides who finished in the bottom half of the table last season. Next up is a home game against an unbeaten Bath and then back on the road to Sale Sharks, who achieved a rare home-and-away double over Tigers in 2015/16. That sequence should focus minds on making a better fist of home form than the match against Wasps a fortnight ago and then chasing a hat-trick away.