Still smiling - despite the missing teeth

Still smiling - despite the missing teeth

I have got to admit that I’m not too unhappy with our situation after the first two months of the season – despite my good looks
taking a battering.

It has been well documented how tough our start was to life in the Aviva Premiership. We went from the highs of winning the
Championship to the uncertainty of our promotion appeal; back to the highs of our appeal’s success and then the realisation of
the magnitude of the task we face. That being a season in one of the toughest leagues out there with much-reduced preparation
time compared to the other clubs.

We then got our first look at the fixture list. Facing the top two clubs – Leicester and Harlequins – first-up. Ouch.

Unsurprisingly, the doom-mongers hadn’t given us much of a hope in our first season. But in a funny way, those first two games
– despite the losses – showed us very quickly the standard we needed to reach if we wanted to have a hope of survival.

Our third game was at home to Exeter Chiefs, a side who know all about surviving that tricky first season in the Premiership.

They had run up an early lead but we started getting a toehold in the game after we were awarded a penalty try when Exeter
collapsed a rolling maul.

Then, the 'King of the Intercept', Nick Scott, picked off a loose pass to get us right back into it. A few moments later, Alfie To’oala
and myself went in for a double tackle. Unfortunately, our heads collided and Alfie’s got a harder nut than me.

I knew I’d lost my artificial tooth (from a previous injury) and had a split lip, so I trotted off to get a few stitches put in it.

We conceded another try whilst I was off so I was obviously itching to get back into the action. Once the stitches were in, I ran
back on and, after some great work from our forwards, Ed Jackson powered over to seal our first win in the Premiership. Happy

It was only after the game that I found out that I’d also lost a second tooth!

What really pleased me was us backing up our first victory with a win away at Sale and then accumulating bonus points from
a couple of subsequent defeats before our third victory against Bath.

I have to say that our Head Coach, Lyn Jones and the rest of the backroom staff have played an absolute blinder in integrating
the new members of our squad and putting together an effective game plan.

It’s really important that we kick on whilst the Autumn Internationals are being played. And hopefully, I won’t lose any more teeth.

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