Wales open the door for England to call up Leicester star Tommy Reffell as Wayne Pivac admits he will not select the ex-Dragons U20 captain ‘just to prevent them from playing for another country’, which is a huge deal boost is for Eddie Jones
- Wales have left the door open for England to choose Leicester’s Tommy Reffell
- Wayne Pivac will not select players to avoid playing for another country
- Reffell, 22, was born in Bridgend and captained Wales at Under-20 level
- However, the talented Tigers flanker qualifies for England on residency
- He has had a good season in the Premiership but was kept out of the Wales summer team for Wales
Wales have left the door open for England to choose Leicester’s in-form Tommy Reffell after Wayne Pivac said: ‘We are not going to select players to prevent them from playing for another country.’
Reffell, 22, was born in Bridgend and captained Wales at Under-20 level, but the flanker has played for the Tigers throughout his professional career, qualifying for England as a resident.
He has had a fine season in the Gallagher Premiership with an improvement from Leicester under Steve Borthwick but was left out of the Wales summer squad on Monday.
Wales have left the door open for England to choose Leicester’s in-form flanker Tommy Reffell
England name their side for matches with the US and Canada on Thursday, with Reffell very much on the radar of Red Rose supremo Eddie Jones.
“I would love to pick every young Welsh rugby player and make their dream come true, but seven is a position where we have a lot of good young talent,” said Wales head coach Pivac.
“James Botham and Taine Basham have both been on the squad before and impressed us during our training sessions. Then we have Jac Morgan and Tommy.
“At the moment it is certainly those who play in Wales who have an advantage. We feel good with the ones we selected because they have runs on the board in our area.”
Wayne Pivac said he would not select players to prevent them from playing for another country
Reffell is very much on the radar of Red Rose supremo Eddie Jones and can be summoned
Asked if he was afraid of losing Reffell, who has been compared to former Wales captain Sam Warburton, to Jones’ clutches, Pivac added: “It’s no different than in other situations where there are double chances . We are not going to select players to prevent them from playing for another country. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do – to give a man a cap and then not use it.”
Wales will be without 10 of their best players this summer to be part of Warren Gatland’s British & Irish Lions touring party to South Africa. Even with a host of first-choice stars unavailable, there is no place for Reffell in a 34-man Wales summer squad that will be captained by experienced centre-back Jonathan Davies, 33.
It could prompt Reffell, who is still said to prefer Wales over England, to re-evaluate his future. Reffell would be tied for England if he played against the US or Canada or if he played for England A against Scotland A at his hometown of Welford Road later this month.
Wales, meanwhile, face Canada and two tests with Argentina in July. Pivac has mixed youth with experience for those matches with five uncapped players named.
Gareth Thomas, Ben Carter, Basham, Ben Thomas and Tom Rogers are alongside longtime heads Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, Cory Hill and Tomas Francis.
Reffell (center), 22, was born in Bridgend and captains Wales at Under-20 level
Davies was the Lions man of the series against New Zealand in 2017, taking part in the team’s last six tests on two tours, but missed out on roster for this year’s trip to South Africa.
He last captained Wales against Italy in the 2019 Six Nations.
“Jon loves putting on the Welsh jersey. When I called him, it was the dreaded call within 24 hours of naming a team. I think he thought he was being locked out,” Pivac said.
“He was overjoyed to have the chance to be on the sidelines. He has a great leadership role and will gladly take up that challenge. It gives him something to really focus on while he’s with us and if he’s shortlisted for the Lions and there’s a call-up then he’s in the right place and ready to go.”