Tommy Reffell once again showed Wayne Pivac what he is capable of with a superb man of the match performance for the Leicester Tigers that has the English media purring.
The flanker turned out to be the match winner in the Tigers 33-26 away win at Gloucester, securing a superb penalty turnout in the final game as his side held on for the win.
Having already impressed in the pre-season and in Leicester’s opening weekend victory over Exeter, Reffell is quickly becoming one of the first names on the Premiership first-form squad roster English.
Such references are sure to catch Pivac’s attention as he considers his fall squad selection.
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The Leicester Mercury awarded Reffell the Man of the Match award, writing a glowing summary of his performance and growing importance to the team.
Giving him a 9/10 rating, they wrote: “The Tigers’ second try will be awarded to Ellis Genge but it wouldn’t have happened without the open side work. Not only did he work hard in the kick-chase to be the men’s first tackle he quickly got up and got the turnover, no one on the pitch exceeded his tackle count of 15.
“Now let’s discuss what happened with the clock in the red. With a Gloucester maul sneaking up to the line, he played a central role in sacking him inches from the line. Not content with that. , Reffell stopped a Stephen Varney sniper attempt for the line and then produced the crucial turnover in the final ruck.
“Seeing Reffell with his swollen chest and the bullet under his arm becomes a familiar sight, he’s the silent assassin of the Tigers.”
One viewer on social media described Reffell’s efforts as “insane”, with the flanker being called “the league’s most underrated player”.
The 22-year-old was part of the Ospreys U16 squad before moving to Leicester at 15 to attend Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College and join Tigers Academy.
He made his senior debut for the club in November 2017 and has gone from strength to strength, being voted Premiership Cup Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2019.
Having been in the East Midlands for seven years he qualified for England in Residence and was reported last year to be on Eddie Jones’ radar.
But Reffell himself has publicly said his “ultimate dream” is to play for Wales.
There were suggestions that Wales could pick him over the summer to stifle England’s interest, but Pivac declined, saying: ‘You have to pick what you think is the right mix at the era.
“We are not going to select players to prevent them from playing for another country.
“I don’t think that’s the right thing to do – cap a guy and then not use him.
“I would love to select every young Welsh rugby player and make their dream come true, but seven years is a position where we have a lot of good young talent.
“James Botham and Taine Basham have both been on the squad before and have impressed us in our practice sessions.
“Then we have Jac (Morgan) and Tommy. Again these are the ones to be left out and, for now, it is certainly those playing in Wales who have the advantage. “
With Botham set to miss the fall series with injury, it will be interesting to see which direction Pivac goes.
He could do worse than go for the young man who has been compared to Sam Warburton and described as “an absolute warrior of a child” by his club coaches.
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