Thomas Waldrom targets England World Cup spot

Kiwi-born Leicester Tigers forward has set his sights on joining England before the start of the World Cup

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Thomas Waldrom says it would be a "great honour" to play for England Photo: Neil Winton

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Leicester Tiger’s New Zealand-born No8 Thomas Waldrom is keen to play for England after discovering his grandmother was born in this country.

The 27-year-old, who joined the league leaders last summer, had already expressed his desire to play for Martin Johnson’s side once he had completed the required 36 months of continued residency.

Waldrom quickly realised he could be pulling on the white jersey  in time for the rugby World Cup, which starts in September  in his native homeland, after a meeting with his agent and a late-night call to his mother to confirm his grandmother was English.

“In theory, I could play tomorrow if they wanted me. I don’t have to wait three years any more,” Waldrom told  the Leicester Mercury.

“My agent came round for a catch-up and he brought the pamphlet with the International Rugby Board’s rules regarding qualifying after residency,”

“My wife was going through the criteria. She saw the line about being able to qualify immediately if one of your grandparents was born in the respective country.

“I remembered reading somewhere that my grandmother was English. I rang up my mum in New Zealand, where it was four o’clock in the morning.

“I apologised for waking her up and asked if nana was born in England. She said yes, and that she also had the birth certificate to prove it.”

The former Crusaders and Hurricanes back-row forward is keen to remind the All Blacks of his ability and insists he would have no problems playing against the team he has supported all his life.

“It would be a great honour to put the [England] shirt on,” Waldrom added.

“It would be a privilege to play against the All Blacks if the chance came along, and would be a chance for me to show them just how good I am.”

Waldrom has made 15 (1) appearances for Leicester this season, scoring two tries.

He will face fourth-placed Bath on Saturday at the Recreation Ground. The Tigers haven’t lost away from home in the Aviva Premiership since their defeat at Gloucester on 30 October.

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