|Weight||111kg (17st 6lb)|
Few players have the debut season impact that Thomas Waldrom made with Leicester Tigers in 2010-11. He not only appeared in 32 matches in all competitions but took the Rugby Players’ Association Player of the Year kudos. Thomas was also a double winner at the Tigers supporters’ end of season awards, scooping player of the year and newcomer of the year plaudits, won his first Test cap off the bench against South Africa in Johannesburg on June 16, 2012 and started against the Springboks the following week at Port Elizabeth.
He had previously scored two tries against the South African Barbarians South side at Kimberley, become man of the match and then stepped up to the senior bench for the first time on the eve of the game at Ellis Park because Phil Dowson was suffering from a tight hamstring sustained in training.
Thomas, who had arrived in England from New Zealand, was the Aviva Premiership Player of the Month in December 2010. By the New Year he had won four bottles of man of the match champagne and in June 2011 was selected for England’s extended RWC Preliminary squad. Three months later, he flew to New Zealand as precautionary cover for fellow Number 8 Nick Easter and he duly joined the party as the official replacement for Andrew Sheridan, who had sustained an injury to his left shoulder in the opening pool victory over Argentina.
Born at Lower Hutt in New Zealand, Thomas qualifies through an English grandmother. He appeared in almost 100 games for Hawke’s Bay and Wellington and more than 50 in the Super 14 for the Hurricanes and Crusaders, for whom his final match was in the semi-final against the Bulls. He swiftly became a crowd pleaser at Welford Road, with his nickname of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ chugging along behind him from the Southern Hemisphere.
A dynamic player in the loose with deceptive pace, he has the dual ability to make breaks either with raw power, shunting opponents into the sidings, or subtle running. The younger brother of Hurricanes and All Blacks flanker Scott, he was selected for New Zealand Maori in May 2008 and scored the match winning try against Australia in the Pacific Nations Cup, adding to his packed and impressive CV.
He played 22 times for New Zealand Secondary Schools, New Zealand U19 and New Zealand U21, figured at prop in his formative years but still popped up on the right wing to score the match winning try for the Hurricanes against the Brumbies in 2007. His bottom line when joining Leicester was: “Number 8 is my main position but I want to run out with any number on my back and do a job for my team.” He has achieved that aim with 84 senior appearances by mid March this year for the Tigers that have produced 17 tries, having signed a new contract with the club 12 months ago. His RBS 6 Nations debut was off the bench in the 12-6 win over Ireland in Dublin this February.
2012 SA (2R,3), Fj, A 2013 I(R)
Last updated: March 11, 2013