Waldrom heading home to New Zealand

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 09:39
Large thomas waldrom 800

TRANSFER NEWS: New Zealander Thomas Waldrom confirmed he will leave the Exeter Chiefs at the end of the current 2017/18 season.

The No.8, who scored 50 tries in 91 appearances for the Exeter Chiefs to date, will return to New Zealand. However, not to retire.

The 35-year-old insists any talk of retirement is very premature. Instead, he revealed he has playing options back home to consider, as well as settling back into familiar surroundings with his family.

His departure will undoubtedly be felt by everyone at Sandy Park, particularly given his outstanding form since arriving from Premiership rivals Leicester Tigers in 2014, but he insists he still has plenty to play for between now and the end of the season.

"The Chiefs will always be a big part of my life and I’ll definitely come back and visit in the future," said the 34-year-old forward. "It’s a great place to come and play rugby and I would recommend coming here to anyone who asked.

"From the first meeting I had with Rob, talking to him and seeing where the club wanted to go, I knew I made the right decision. Coming down and seeing first-hand everything that was here and what the club did, I knew straight away it was the right fit for me and my family.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think the move would go as well as it has, but that’s down to the environment here. The coaches, my team-mates, the fans, it’s been brilliant and I’ve loved every minute of it.

"I also wanted to show people why Rob wanted to sign me when I was 30 on a three-year deal. He showed a lot of faith in me at that time and, hopefully, I’ve helped pay him back a bit over the last few years,"

Indeed, Waldrom has more than proved his worth to the Chiefs, helping the club last season to record a first-ever Premiership title with victory over Wasps at Twickenham.

As he says, the time has come for him, his wife Emma, plus their boys to head home and continue their family life back around many of their loved ones.

"It’s the right time for me to go," added the England international. "It’s been a hard decision to come to, but deep down I know it’s the right decision. My wife has followed me around England for a good eight years now when it was only supposed to be two at the start!"

Waldrom insists, however, that he still has plenty to do between now and his departure, namely helping the Chiefs to push on in their Premiership title defence.

"There is still lots to do before I go," he said. "I know what this team can achieve and, fingers crossed, we can get back to where we were last season come to the end of the season. The squad we have, the players within the group, it’s an outstanding bunch who are capable of achieving so much together.

"A lot of what we have done is down to the players themselves, but at the same time, Rob [Baxter] and the other coaches do put a lot of responsibility on us as players as well. We do lots of work off the pitch, but when you get things right on the pitch, that’s when they are the first to reward you,"

And it’s that togetherness, particularly amongst the playing group, which Waldrom says is pivotal in the success of the club moving forward.

He continued: "It’s a great environment to be part of as there is always something going on. We do a lot together, on and off the field, and we’ve got things like Cookie Club or we go our for business lunches on our days off. There was Sandwich Club as well, but that’s no more, which I’m pretty pleased about.

"The enjoyment of those sorts of things, the way the boys get on, it all adds to the mix here. There are no egos within the group and everyone is treated the same. The banter in the changing room can be brutal at times, but that just adds to things and makes this easily the best club I’ve been involved with,"

There are currently no matches being played
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 06h05 Canberra
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 20 15 0 5 75
Saracens 20 14 0 6 67
Wasps 20 12 1 7 61
Newcastle Falcons 20 13 0 7 59
Leicester Tigers 20 2 0 8 57
Gloucester 20 11 1 8 56
Sale Sharks 20 10 0 10 54
Bath 20 9 0 11 46
Harlequins 20 7 0 13 36
Northampton Saints 20 7 0 13 36
Worcester Warriors 20 6 0 14 31
London Irish 20 3 0 17 22