Martin Crowson's Five Things: Sad to see someone of Newby's stature retire
Martin Crowson looks back at five key talking points from the weekend's rugby action.
1The announcement of Craig Newby's forced retirement through injury is a sad day for a man who has thrown his heart, soul and body into the club since arriving at Leicester Tigers from New Zealand in October 2008. At 33, the laid-back Kiwi has had a lengthy career and will be fondly remembered for some stellar performances in big matches across the back row. He captained the club on several occasions and is hugely respected within the set-up at Welford Road.
2 Anyone seeing Tigers' new Fijian winger Vereniki Goneva for the first time on Saturday will be licking their lips for the rest of the season. The 28-year-old has a vast skill set and plays the game with a smile on his face. He can also make space out of nothing in the same way that fellow countryman Seru Rabeni could when he was at the club. What a find.
3 There are few old boys in the Aviva Premiership who could have received as good a welcome to their former club than Worcester fly-half Andy Goode received on Saturday. Despite being sent off on his previous visit to Welford Road for nearly decapitating Tom Croft, the 32-year-old is clearly still held in high regard by Tigers fans for his 10 years of service and for having one of the biggest boots the club has ever known.
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4 There is often talk at this stage of the season that the Aviva Premiership table is irrelevant so early into the new campaign. But take one look at the situation after round two and it is perfectly conceivable that it will look almost identical come May next year, with Harlequins, Tigers and Saracens near the top and London Welsh, London Irish and Sale down the bottom end.
5 After two relatively low-key victories so far, a real test of where Tigers are at this early stage of the season comes with games against Saracens and Harlequins during an eight-day spell. Those two sides, for me, will represent the main tests to Leicester this season, and if Tigers can win both of them with Ben Youngs, Tom Croft and Louis Deacon out injured and Miles Benjamin and Dan Bowden short of match-practice, it would lay down a huge statement of intent.