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Tig Blog

Welcome start to the journey back

Moving forward every week is the stated goal for Steve and his team
Moving forward every week is the stated goal for Steve and his team

It is difficult to work out exactly what the league table means so early in the second half of the season. But we know that it signals progress for the Tigers.

After finishing 11th in the last two seasons, there is already a different feel about 2020/21 that is discernible even when viewed from a safe social distance with the stadium remaining closed to supporters.

For a start, after 13 rounds Tigers have amassed 32 points, which is three more than they gathered in the whole of 2019/20 and only nine short of the total for the season before that.

Victory at Gloucester – a first on the road since well before Covid entered everyday usage – gives Tigers a 7-6 win-loss record so far, including one win and one defeat allocated by Premiership Rugby’s equivalent of the Pools Panel.

After 13 rounds, only three teams have won more games than Steve Borthwick’s seventh-placed Tigers.

The three are league leaders Bristol with 10; third-placed Quins, who have conceded more points than Tigers; and fifth-placed Saints, who have scored fewer.

There is no exact science in a Covid season, with more than half of the teams receiving match points from cancellations which can not only skew positions in the table, but also affect comparison of tries and points scored and conceded.

But what is crystal clear is the direction of travel at Tigers in the first 13 weeks of this compressed and compact league season.

It has also been achieved mostly without three senior internationals who have been on extended England duty, plus the fast-rising George Martin, who will provide another boost to the strength across the squad when they return. And there have been some statements from those who have played through since the season started in November, both younger and older, new and long-standing.

We all accept that, as Steve has made it abundantly clear, there is still much work to do, but it must be heartening for him, his staff and the players that the effort so far is already paying some dividend.

The head coach will also love the fact that seventh place shows there can be no let-up now, especially with so few points covering so many teams in the middle reaches of the league table. The shortage of bonus points – just two in attack and none in defence so far – is one clear indicator of that when the league average is closer to six points at this stage.

But as supporters we now have something to cling on to in the hope that at least some will be able to get back through the turnstiles before another season is run.