Waldrom heading home to New Zealand

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 09:39
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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,"

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Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 Twickenham Stoop
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Bath v Sale Sharks 14h30 Recreation Ground
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
Fri, 02 March 2018
Blues v Chiefs 06h35 Eden Park
Reds v Brumbies 09h00 Suncorp Stadium
Kings v Dragons 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Edinburgh v Munster 19h35 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Harlequins v Bath 19h45 Twickenham Stoop
Sat, 03 March 2018
Sunwolves v Rebels 22h00 Tokyo
Fri, 23 February 2018
France v Italy 34 | 17
Leinster v Kings 64 | 7
Dragons v Edinburgh 12 | 25
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 21 | 10
Rebels v Reds 45 | 19
Highlanders v Blues 41 | 34
Mon, 19 February 2018
NWU-Pukke v UJ 18 | 15
Maties v CUT-Ixias 75 | 12
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 27 | 32
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 29 | 32
Sun, 18 February 2018
Dragons v Treviso 15 | 18
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13 | 7
Sat, 17 February 2018
Cardiff Blues v Munster 25 | 18
Lions v Sharks 26 | 19
Leinster v Scarlets 20 | 13
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 15 11 0 4 53
Exeter Chiefs 15 10 0 5 52
Wasps 15 10 0 5 48
Gloucester 15 9 0 6 42
Newcastle Falcons 15 9 0 6 41
Bath 15 8 0 7 41
Leicester Tigers 15 8 0 7 37
Sale Sharks 14 7 0 7 37
Harlequins 15 6 0 9 32
Northampton Saints 15 6 0 9 30
Worcester Warriors 15 5 0 10 27
London Irish 15 1 0 14 11