It was superb to get back out on the Welford Road pitch at the weekend having missed all of last season with injury.
We beat Nottingham 64-7 and are in good shape for our Aviva Premiership opener against London Welsh on Sunday.
There are quite a few new faces in the squad this season and they will all be happy to finally get a Tigers shirt on their back after the usually gruelling pre-season.
I speak from personal experience when I say that joining a new club can be difficult. But there is always someone you know from a previous meeting, England training, age groups or whatever. It’s very rare that someone comes in and doesn’t know anybody in the set up.
Eventually, new players will drift towards their natural peer group.
The boys will make any new signing welcome here but they have to earn respect.
That comes from keeping your head down and working hard and making sure you learn the ropes before you say too much.
I have learnt that through my experiences when I joined from Leeds back in 2006.
When I first arrived, I think I had to work harder than most to earn that respect because of the highlights in my hair!
But I kept my head down and I don’t think I said a word for the first few months. I found it really hard until I actually started playing and then, with a few games under my belt, I felt that I started earning that respect from the other boys in the team.
The new boys will also have to put up with the usual blend of banter you get in any sports team, some good, some bad.
If they stay on the good side of George Chuter, they should be doing okay. Chutes is relentless and keeps on going until he gets a laugh. But he’s good – very good.
And whoever they are, it will not be too long before they are getting stuck in to our Aussie flanker Julian Salvi.
Jules gets a lot of stick on a regular basis and tends to bring a lot of it on himself.
He was talking about a Porsche he owns the other day and I asked him: “What reg is it?” – clearly meaning: “How old is it?”
Instead of saying it’s year of make, Salvi started reciting its actual registration number!
He does himself no favours.
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