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Murphy impressed by his Tigers young guns

The younger members of the Leicester Tigers squad emerged with full marks from Saturday’s European win over Calvisano.

Freddie Steward was given a Challenge Cup debut just two days after his 19th birthday while Sam Lewis was named man-of-the-match at the heart of a 59-7 victory.

“I thought they were both very good,” said head coach Murphy. “But you kind of forget that we’ve also got Tommy Reffell in there, plus Joe Heyes, Tom Hardwick, Jake Kerr, they’re all under 23.

“Some of them look like old heads now when you’ve got a 19-year-old in there.

“For a young man like Freddie to come in is great, but it’s also nice to go and play like that with some international bodies around him.”

Tigers sent a young team to Cardiff in Round 2, with 18-year-old Sam Costelow among the European debutants in a win over the Blues ahead of the home-and-away fixtures against Calvisano.

“It’s the way we wanted to approach this tournament,” Murphy said. “We wanted to use some younger guys with experience around them and to grow the strength in depth we have in the squad with those opportunities.

“They get that experience of European games, of playing away from home in tough environments, and they can only be better for that in the long term.”