Tommy Reffell wins Premiership Rugby Breakthrough Player Award

Tommy Reffell
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Leicester Tigers flanker Tommy Reffell has joined an illustrious list of players by winning the Gallagher Premiership Breakthrough Player Award.

The award was decided upon by a public vote and he fought off fierce competition from the likes of Aaron Hinkley and Gabriel Ibitoye.

Tommy Reffell – Superstar in the making

Launched in 2012, the Breakthrough Player Award celebrates and recognises under-23 players who have stood out in the tournament, with previous winners including the likes of Jack Nowell and Jonny May, while last year’s gong was taken home by James Grayson.

Using OPTA Rugby match statistics, a forward and back from each round, along with two players with outstanding overall competition statistics, were chosen to form a ten-man shortlist that was opened to a fan vote – with Reffell coming out on top.

“I’m surprised” says Reffell

“With the season being the way it was this year, the Premiership Rugby Cup was a big chunk at the start that gave me the confidence coming into the senior environment.

“Ahead of the start of the Premiership campaign I thought the Premiership Rugby Cup was really good for my development.

“As a young player, all you want to do is get on the field and just play rugby. You do a lot of weights sessions, you do a lot of meetings, but ultimately you want to just go out and play.”

The Journey – Don’t stop believing

Reffell was shortlisted following his performance in Leicester Round Three Premiership Rugby Cup clash, an 18-7 victory over Bath Rugby.

At The Rec that afternoon Reffell put in an impressive shift in defence, making 18 tackles – a tally only five players could better across Round Three – and winning a round-high three turnovers for his side.

Although he had limited opportunities with ball in hand the 20-year-old gained 24 metres from just two carries, while he also capped his display off with the game’s opening try.

Refell featured in all four of Leicester Tigers’ pool games, starting three times in the back row while he came off the bench in a 27-7 home win over Exeter Chiefs.

He helped Leicester win two of those clashes as they just missed out on a semi-final spot, finishing second in Pool 3 with ten points.

And Reffell’s performances in the Premiership Rugby Cup saw him make his Gallagher Premiership Rugby debut in an opening day loss to Worcester Warriors.

To date Reffell has made ten League appearances – including four starts – and had an impressive 97% tackle success rate heading into Round 13 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby action.

The opposition

In winning the public vote, Reffell receives a watch courtesy of Citizen Watch UK.

Bristol Bears’ Will Capon finished second in the voting, while Fraser Dingwall of Northampton Saints was third.

The full shortlist;

Aaron Hinckley – Gloucester Rugby
Gabriel Ibitoye – Harlequins
Sean Reffell – Saracens
Ollie Lawrence – Worcester Warriors
Tommy Reffell – Leicester Tigers
Manu Vunipola – Saracens
Will Capon – Bristol Bears
Fraser Dingwall – Northampton Saints
Will Evans – Harlequins
Ben Loader – London Irish


“Main photo credit”

Tommy Reffell
Reffell picks up his prized watch following the public vote. Credit Premiership Rugby.