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Rugby News

Kelly keeps setting new targets at Tigers

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Dan Kelly says the quality of players around him at Leicester Tigers is helping the 19-year-old centre to improve his game day to day.

Former Loughborough Students centre Kelly signed for Tigers last summer and has now agreed a new contract, which he celebrate with a first Premiership try in the win at Gloucester last weekend.

“I only came in during July so it’s not even a year, but I think I’ve come on leaps and bounds as a player,” said the Manchester-born Ireland Under-20s cap.

“That’s just being around such good players every day, it rubs off.

“With Matt Scott, Matias and Jaco to name just three, I’m soaking up information from them every day and I can only improve.”

But Kelly, who scored a first Tigers in the win over Bayonne in France before Christmas before putting the finishing touches to a driving maul at Gloucester in Gallagher Premiership action last Saturday, is not getting carried away after making a big first impression.

“The feedback from the coaches has been positive, but they keep me grounded and everybody grounded,” he said. “You might be going well but there are always things to improve on.

“You get a bit of luck here and there, and you get opportunities and get up the ladder. I’m made-up to be here, we’re building something and I want to be part of it.

“The team has always got a vision of where we need to go next and individually I set targets like that too. It’s on to the next one whatever it may be.”

Scoring from a maul is not a standard skill for a centre, but Kelly was happy to make a contribution as Tigers celebrated a first away win of the season at Kingsholm before preparing to face defending champions Exeter Chiefs this Saturday.

“It’s a bit different for a centre, but Tom just handed me the ball and told me to take it,” he said. “If you get yourself on those positions you just have to focus on getting over the line.

"In the first half I thought we were great but we had three back-to-back penalties and they scored to bring them back into the game. In the second half the penalties killed us, but we’re looking like a team that can grind out a win. It’s good to get the win and hopefully there are more to come.

“We’re not getting carried away, it’s drilled into us day in, day out that we just go forward, that is what we are talking about, it’s on to the next thing and the next thing is what we can improve on for Exeter.”