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Wales' openside Reffell now 'one of the best sevens in the world'

By PA
Tommy Reffell of Leicester Tigers looks on during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium on December 03, 2023 in Leicester, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Leicester’s head coach Dan McKellar praised his side’s accuracy in overcoming extremely difficult conditions to record a bonus-point 47-3 Gallagher Premiership win over bottom club Newcastle.

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It was Falcons eighth consecutive defeat and they remain winless having just picked up four league points to remain eight points behind ninth-placed Gloucester.

Wales flanker Tommy Reffell was Tigers’ hero with a hat-trick of tries.

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Matt Scott, Jasper Wiese, Ollie Hassell-Collins and Mike Brown were also on the try-scoring sheet, with Handre Pollard kicking four conversions and Jamie Shillcock two.

A penalty from Brett Connon was Newcastle’s sole response.

McKellar said: “It was tough conditions for the boys out there and indeed for the supporters.

“It was a good day at the office but the boys certainly had to dig in hard to defend their line.

“In the conditions, we didn’t really want the ball but Newcastle have scored a lot of points in their games so keeping them out today was impressive as our defence is a real weapon for us.

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“Another plus was that we were able to empty our bench quite early and so able to give the likes of Tom Whiteley and Jamie Shillcock valuable game time.

“It was a slow start to the season with results not going our way but slowly but surely we are building momentum.”

Reffell won the man of the match award to draw praise from McKellar.

He added: “Since he has come back from the World Cup, he has been outstanding and is challenging himself to be one of the best number sevens in the world.

“If he continues to progress, there is no doubt that he is likely to achieve that.”

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It was another miserable day at the office for Newcastle, who despite a spirited performance lacked the attacking flair to trouble their opponents in conditions that clearly didn’t suit them.

They did have periods of sustained pressure but never looked like capitalising and were given a lesson by Tigers in how to take chances.

Newcastle’s head coach Alex Codling said: “They had a very strong side with 14 internationals out there and they do the basics very well.

“I can’t fault our efforts but it was a tough watch and the final score was hard to take.

“When we lose momentum, we can’t seem to get it back but the conditions really suited them today.

“They are so strong around the area of ruck and maul so we lost the arm-wrestle and it was clearly a one-sided game.”

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Eabn 7 hours ago
Open-minded Schmidt takes hands-on approach to Australia challenge

Who cares - boring is good when it comes to Media - they don’t bug you as much. While the focus is on the resurrection of the Wallabies, don’t forget the grass roots - Any opportunity you have to visit, train or promote Rugby down here in Melbourne / Regional is pretty much imperative given the current situation with the Rebels. I’m talking about us grass roots clubs and more so, clubs in the West of Melbourne who are being absolutely smashed by Rugby League and who have been contributing directly to the game down here long before the Rebels emerged and no doubt will do so well after they may be gone. All I have heard is all about the elite level, not the grass roots level so while the talk is about “ The Wallabies” and “Super Rugby Pacific” get back to the roots of Union and include us in your plans. So Phil Waugh and those leaders within RugbyAustralia, it’s on you to ensure the bottom feeders, so to speak, are included in all the talk and the funding if you want Union to regain ground and more respect within the Union and also the broader sporting fraternity. Given you have been in Melbourne a number off times over the last month, extending the courtesy of having a meet and greet with Victorian grass root clubs eluded you for some reason. Do we count or matter in RA’s and yours bigger picture?? Ean Drummond - Club Founder/President - Wyndham City Rhinos RUFC Inc. Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne.

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