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Calvisano win ‘sets us up’ for tough games, says Reffell

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Tigers back-rower Tommy Reffell says the Leicester squad were pleased to ‘put a few wrongs right’ in the European Challenge Cup win over Calvisano.

The 20-year-old returned to the starting line-up after injury had forced him to sit out the European win in Cardiff and Gallagher Premiership trip to Northampton.

And Reffell – whose second-half score at Welford Road was among nine tries against Pool 5’s Italian side – said Tigers drew on the experience of their Derby Day loss.

“When you have a result like that against your local rivals, the beauty of the game is you’ll always have a chance to play again the week after,” he said.

“The boys just wanted to get back out there, play, and put a few wrongs right.

“I think you’ve got to take every game as it comes and, whoever is put in front of you, you’ve got to use to improve your own game.

“We focused on ourselves a lot more and took what we learned from the Saints game into that match.”

Tommy Reffell Try
Man-of-the-match Sam Lewis celebrates as Tommy Reffell goes over for Tigers' fifth try against Calvisano.

Tigers head to the Pata Stadium this Saturday (December 14) for the return fixture, before closing out the pool stages at home to Cardiff and away to Pau in January.

“We’ve got some tough games coming up,” Reffell added. “Pau away will be a tough one as well as Calvisano next week.

“They’ll take what they learned [on Saturday] and use it against us next week, I’d imagine, and it’ll be a tougher game.”

The competition has also offered head coach Geordan Murphy the chance to call on some of the squad’s younger stars, handing both Sam Lewis and Freddie Steward their first European starts on Saturday.

Reffell, himself a Tigers Academy graduate, commended the pair on their contributions in the nine-try win.

“Freddie Steward coming in for his European debut – especially at such a young age – looked confident out there,” he said.

“And, to be fair to [Sam Lewis], you can never question his work rate and desire around the training ground. He’s always the first one to do this and that around the place, and he’s really stepped up this year into the senior squad and started putting himself out there.

“He got moved into the second row for this week and it was no bother. No complaining, he just put his scrum cap on and got on with it. Credit to him, he was outstanding and he’s really developing into a dynamic player.”