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Briefest break after longest season ever

So we’ve made it to the finish – which sadly couldn’t be said for everyone – and now there are just seven weeks to wait until the start of the (checks diary) 2020/21 season.

Usually, the final whistle of the season is met with equal parts sigh of relief and packed cases ready for a summer break.

We said goodbye to that kind of normality a long while ago and in 2020, it’s more about a pause for breath and a quick turnaround to go again after the school's half-term holiday.

It took 12 months to get from beginning to end of the (checks diary again) 2019/20 season – it’s a good job we pay by the game rather than putting it on the meter – but, as Geordan Murphy pointed out in interviews this week, it is actually 16 months since the players first reported back to training in the countdown to kick-off.

You may recall that the 2019/20 campaign started in a World Cup year and was therefore delayed until the global jamboree had reached its knockout stages. With the previous campaign ending in the Spring, players had their stand-down time and then returned for the longest pre-season ever.

Then, interrupted by 20-odd weeks of actual matches, they paused again for three months before starting another – social-distanced in the first instance – period of pre-season.

As The Tig noted recently, this is still the season that we welcomed the likes of Tomas Lavanini, Hanro Liebenberg, Jaco Taute, Jordan Taufua and Nephi Leatigaga as well as Nemani Nadolo, Kini Murimurivalu, Matt Scott, Kobus van Wyk, Luke Wallace and others.

It is also Tommy Reffell’s first full year of Premiership rugby.

Steve Borthwick, Aled Walters and Rob Taylor became Tigers just four months ago. In a normal year they would now be into something like Round 6 of a Premiership season and looking forward to a first foray into Europe.

This, of course, is no normal season.

Now, as well as learning quickly, they have to rest and recover quickly too, ready to report back and set us on the next part of the journey.

The Tig, who hasn’t had to make any tackles or lift any weights, will be ready too.