Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comMattioli Woods Welford RoadContact UsTopps Tiles
Rugby News

Captains go head to head in national colours

Tommy Reffell was playing in the Under-18 League last season and now leads Wales Under-20s
Tommy Reffell was playing in the Under-18 League last season and now leads Wales Under-20s

Leicester Tigers colleagues Ben White and Tommy Reffell are not just on opposite sides this weekend, but also captains of their respective nations as they protect unbeaten starts to the Under-20s Six Nations.

Scrum-half White, a tryscorer in the win over Italy in Round 1, leads England for the first time as flanker Reffell captains Wales as the teams go head to head at Kingston Park, Newcastle in a fascinating Friday evening contest.

Speaking after the 36-3 victory over Scotland in the opening round last weekend, Reffell praised the Wales team for countering the threat from their opponents.

“I thought it was a really pleasing start from the boys,” he told @WelshRugbyUnion.

“We knew Scotland were going to come with some firepower, especially in the backs, and it was good to see us getting up off the line and in their faces.

"Credit to them, they really put the pressure on us in the first half and we had to really cling on. Through the boys’ resilience, we stuck it out to the end and managed to put points on them.”

Wales, therefore, travel with some confidence to the home of Newcastle Falcons, where White will be waiting alongside Tigers colleagues Sam Lewis, Jordan Olowofela and debutant Joe Heyes who are all named in the England starting line-up while fly-half Tom Hardwick is included among the replacements.

White, who leads the team in only his second appearance, said: “It is an honour to captain your country and there’s no greater team to do it with. All the boys are really excited. We’ve got 15 leaders on the pitch and that makes my job really easy.”

Tigers academy coach Anthony Allen is joined by former first-team forwards coach Richard Blaze on the England staff as they look to build on the 27-17 bonus-point victory over Italy last weekend.

Head coach Steve Bates is certainly anticipating a good contest, saying: “I think it will go  right to the wire – it could come down to the last 10 minutes and who has most in the tank at that point.

“Ben White has arrived into the Under-20 set-up with a level of commitment to train and play positively. The way he performed against Italy was outstanding, he was brave, organised, committed and is a great choice for us as captain.”

Friday’s match is due for live coverage on Sky Sports Action/Mix. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

Tigers head coach Matt O’Connor said: “It is a tremendous result for the development pathways at Tigers to have so many guys involved at this level and to have characters good enough to lead their international sides says a lot about what they are doing in that pathway.”