Thomas Waldrom enjoying licence to thrill at Exeter Chiefs
England international's impressive performances saw him named Aviva Premiership Player of the Month for Novemebr
Thomas Waldrom has admitted he is enjoying the chance to express himself at Exeter Chiefs after being named the Aviva Premiership Player of the Month for November.
I’m only as good as the 14 guys in front of me. Together they’ve all been doing their bit to help the team this year, and I’m just the guy who has been lucky enough to finish off the scores.
The 31-year-old New Zealand-born England international has made an impressive start to life in Devon following his summer switch from Leicester Tigers.
The Chiefs’ eye-catching start to the season has seen them occupy a top four spot in the Premiership, as well as topping their LV=Cup and European Challenge Cup pools.
“Just knowing you can go out and express yourself, I’m really enjoying it,” he said.
“When I first spoke to Rob about coming to the club he told me I would enjoy it down here, and I would enjoy the way we play.
“All the coaches talked about the youngsters, and what they wanted to do with them, but you can definitely see the talent coming through.
“I don’t think it could have gone any better than it has been so far.
“I’m very pleased with how things have gone, but I’m aware we’ve got some big games coming up, and that we have to keep on working hard.”
Waldrom, a wrecking ball number 8, has been at the heart of the Chiefs’ success, scoring seven tries in nine Premiership starts, which earned him a recall to Stuart Lancaster’s England squad for the QBE Internationals last month.
“The coaches have given me a bit of a licence to go out and play, plus it’s always good to score tries,” he added.
“I’m only as good as the 14 guys in front of me. Together they’ve all been doing their bit to help the team this year, and I’m just the guy who has been lucky enough to finish off the scores.
“It was nice to be back in the England mix; that dream never goes away.
“However, to get anywhere near that team you have to be playing well for your club side.
“I always said at Leicester: worry about your form here first and foremost and then England will follow.
“It’s exactly the same down here; if you’re playing well those things will happen.”
Despite their rise in the Premiership ranks this season, and an ambition to return to the European rugby’s top table, Waldrom has warned that they cannot get carried away ahead of big Premiership clashes with Sale Sharks, Bath Rugby, and Gloucester Rugby around the corner.
“I think we are enjoying what we are doing down here and we’re trying to stamp our mark on each game,” he said.
“I think we’re slowly doing that, but we also want to make it hard for teams when they face us to try and get anything out of us.
“We’re well aware if you are 10-15 per cent off in the Premiership, you’ll get caught out.
“That is what happened to us at Newcastle, but we know over the Christmas period that there is not so much training; the weeks are a bit shorter, so we have to do our homework beforehand to get everything right for these big games.
“As players, though, you want to be involved in these big games.”
Waldrom saw off competition from Bath’s Jonathan Joseph and Sale captain Dan Braid to pick up the Player of the Month award for November.
“Thomas has been playing with a giant smile on his face since arriving at Sandy Park,” said BT Sport analyst Austin Healey.
“The freedom that Rob Baxter and his team have given their number 8 has enabled him to break free of the shackles and express himself.
“His carrying ability sees him top of the average metres per carry charts and try-scoring list.”