Wales rookie hailed as ‘world-class’ amid name for Eddie Jones to launch Eleventh-hour poaching mission

“I have so much admiration — Tommy catching a bus every morning, going to live in digs in Leicester at the age of 16, like a footballer from another age. He’d make his way to college.”

So stated Tommy Reffell’s outdated instructor at Pencoed Comprehensive School, Simon King, 4 years in the past, commenting on his former pupil’s daring choice to move for Leicester Tigers as a uncooked teenager.

Fellow Pencoed product Sam Costelow took the identical route as properly. Costelow is now starting to prosper with the Scarlets, whereas Reffell is a Gallagher Premiership title winner with Leicester Tigers. Good on each of them.

Read extra: Wales star so good he leaves England followers ‘dreaming of what may have been’

Teak-tough flanker Reffell performed a full half in his membership’s 15-12 win over Saracens in Saturday’s ultimate at Twickenham. There could also be flashier No. 7s on the scene, with Reffell a crew participant to his core who leaves the Hollywood stuff to others, however there are additionally few simpler on the fundamentals of the function.

The former Wales U20s captain is fast across the park, by no means distant from the motion and relentless in his pursuit of scraps. Various instances the ball fell free towards Saracens just for Reffell to react quickest and declare possession for his facet.

But perhaps his strongest level is his capability over the ball. Against Saracens, Reffell was on the coronary heart of a five-minute spell when the Londoners had been repeatedly relieved of possession. You can learn extra right here in regards to the ‘silent murderer who performs like Warburton ‘.

Working in tandem with the very good Argentinian hooker Julian Montoya, Reffell helped put stress on Saracens with one steal a very text-book affair. Anticipating the opportunity of a turnover, he swooped with the velocity of a hungry wolf laying declare to a lamb chop. The ball was then laid again on a plate for the Leicester backs to make use of.

Awarding him an eight out of 10 of their gamers scores, WalesOn-line’s sister title LeicestershireLive wrote: “The Welshman is genuinely a world-class jackler, and the best in the world step up in the biggest moments. The most critical one was on the Tigers 22m line, and stopped a hugely promising attacking opportunity. The Welshman showed his improving physicality too, with 12 tackles — a team high — contributing to cover defence out wide very well.”

MailOnline reckoned Reffell “always looked a breakdown threat”, and RugbyPass referred to the openside as the “Tigers’ turnover king” and stated he had a ding-dong battle with Ben Earl, the Premiership’s participant of the season.

Reffell isn’t the kind to let reward go to his head, although. Of extra significance to him would be the respect he instructions from his friends.

There was a second throughout play at Twickenham when he obtained a pat on the again from Jasper Wiese, the official man of the match on the day. Perhaps the South African had been impressed by the best way Reffell performed in Saracens’ faces all through his time on the sphere, or perhaps he was awed by the best way the Welsh teen rode a direct hit from Maro Itoje at one level. Itoje smashed into Reffell whereas clearing him out at a ruck in a connection which could have laid low others, however Reffell took the therapy and simply received on with the sport.

King, his ex-mentor at Pencoed Comprehensive School, is justifiably a proud man. “Tommy has developed into an outstanding rugby player,” he advised WalesOn-line. “Leicester are a club with great values and they identified five or six years ago that Tommy would fit in perfectly.

“He has incredible commitment, the right attitude and a will to succeed. What is special about him as well is that his core values are still what they were when he left Pencoed to head for the Tigers in the first place. He is respectful of others and goes the extra mile for his team-mates. And he’s a warrior on the field.

“His values are the values of Pencoed. I know people are very proud of him there and so they should be. It’s great to see him doing so well. For him to be part of a Gallagher Premiership-winning side means a huge amount.”

Fancifully, there has even been a call for Eddie Jones to try to poach Reffell for England before he makes his bow for Wales. “We know he has been called up by Wales for their summer tour but he’s not capped yet and so darn good,” said the Ruck website under a “Steal him from Wales” headline. “If anyone would enjoy stealing a player touted as a future Tigers captain from under the nose of the Welsh, it would be Eddie Jones,” they continued.

It isn’t going to happen. When asked in 2019 about the possibility of featuring for England, Reffell said: “I haven’t thought about that. I’m Welsh.”

A Test debut will certainly come his method with Wales in South Africa this summer season, settling the matter for good.

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