He captained Wales U20 during the 2018 Six Nations and is developing his game at Leicester Tigers – find out more about Tommy Reffell

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Wales U20 flanker Tommy Reffell

Date of birth 27 April 1999 Born Bridgend Club Leicester Country Wales Position Back-row

How did you get involved in rugby?

All my family are involved and they got me into it aged four at my local club, Pencoed. I stayed there through minis and juniors until U16s.

Have you always played in the back row?

I started off as centre and then gradually worked my way in because the coaches couldn’t keep me away from rucks! I like the contact stuff.

What’s your preferred position?

I play openside normally but I was put at blindside by Wales U20 (and captained them in the Six Nations). I like openside because of the link play between backs and forwards, and being able to get over the ball and jackal. But I’m happy to play wherever as long as I’m in the team!

How did the move to Leicester come about?

They approached me and gave me a tour of their facilities. It was after the Lions tour to Australia and when I went up there I could see all their Lions training. I could tell it was a special club.

So I went up when I was 15 and moved in with another family. Now I’m living with a couple of the England U20 boys.

Was it a difficult decision to leave home?

Moving away from my family and friends was tough. But I put rugby first and I haven’t looked back since.

Did you have any interest in Wales?

The Ospreys wanted to keep me as part of their academy system but Leicester was the right decision for me. A lot of players offer help and the coaching staff are great as well. Just seeing how senior players are at training, you can learn off them and pick up things.

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

To keep developing as an athlete, improve my athleticism and size to make that next push to senior rugby. As a young player you always want game time, but you have to be patient and when your chance comes, you’ve got to take it.

RW VERDICT: Reffell cites his dad, Gary, as his biggest influence. He’s the one who persuaded Reffell to make the move to Leicester and it’s paid off with his development. And Wales fans can rest assured he will not be switching to a white jersey!

This article originally appearing in the May 2018 edition of Rugby World magazine. Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.