- Leicester Tigers Thomas Waldrom arrives in Dunedin in standby
- No.8 departed for Heathrow on one hours notice
Photo: Getty Images
Thomas Waldrom landed in Dunedin this morning pinching himself at the call that has put him on the edge of England’s Rugby World Cup bid.
No.8 Waldrom played in Leicester Tigers 27-26 victory over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Saturday and was expecting to review the Aviva Premiership match with Richard Cockerill.
But no sooner had the Director of Rugby called him in to the office at 10.30am on Monday morning then he was packing his bags to fly out to New Zealand as cover for Harlequins Nick Easter, who did not train yesterday because of a sore back.
"It wasn’t what I expecting when I went into Cockers’ office," said Waldrom after arriving at Dunedin Airport. “I just thought we were going to talk about the game but he said go and sort out stuff at home and then you are on a plane to New Zealand.”
Less than three hours later, having said goodbye to wife Emma, son Troy and his nine-week old brother Kade – "I’m afraid I left a bit of mess for the missus!" – Waldrom was in a taxi to Heathrow and ready to step up to the plate if Martin Johnson requires.
He said: "It’s just a case of being out here; it’s up to Johno what he wants and how Nick’s injury comes along. I’ll just have to sit and wait but it’s one of those things you have to do. Cockers didn‘t have to let me go but he knows what an opportunity it is if I do get into the squad so he let me go and big thanks to the Tigers."
Waldrom, who was part of England’s 45-man Rugby World Cup Preliminary Squad, spent several hours on the flight studying his ‘playbook’.
The 28-year-old has been watching England’s victories over Argentina and Georgia and added: "England have had a solid start – everyone knows there has been a few mistakes but I can see what they are trying to so – and I’m sure it’ll build over the next few weeks."