Leicester Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy has paid tribute to the development of back-rower Tommy Reffell after he was named Premiership Rugby Cup Breakthrough Player of the Year.
The 20-year-old added his name to an illustrious list of winners – including Tigers wing Jonny May – for his performances in Premiership Rugby’s development competition.
And head coach Murphy, who handed Reffell his Gallagher Premiership debut in Round 1 of this season’s campaign, says the prize was ‘no surprise to us’.
“Tommy is highly-regarded among the whole squad and each chance he has this season, he has impressed us,” Murphy said.
“But it is beyond what people see on the pitch each weekend that Tommy adds.
“He is already a leader and you have seen the leadership roles he has had with Wales coming through the ranks, which is no surprise to us.”
“We’re all proud of him.”
The Tigers Academy graduate has made 10 league appearances so far this season, and boasts a 97% tackle success rate – as well as a reputation for being a nuisance over the ball.
He has captained Wales Under-20s and played every minute of his second World Championships in Argentina last summer before stepping up into the club’s senior squad.
“Tommy has developed really well in recent seasons and, since coming up into the senior group, continued to grow,” Murphy continued.
“What is most exciting is how much more he has left to improve and grow.
“He is committed to the club, and despite what any rumours might say out there, we see Rafs as a big part of the journey we’re on here at Tigers.
“This is a well-earned reward for Tommy, who has continued to grow and develop this season, and an accolade the club can share in with him ... we’re all proud of him.”