|Weight||104kg (16st 5lb)|
A try-scorer for England against the Barbarians in May 2011, Tom Johnson went on to pick up his maiden Test try on his fourth appearance against Fiji in the QBE International at Twickenham in November 2012. He duly became the first Exeter player to make a Test touchdown for England, having been a stand out performer when the Saxons won the 2011 Churchill Cup. Tom started all three Tests against South Africa the following summer.
He had appeared alongside Carl Fearns and Luke Narraway in the back row against the Barbarians in 2011 and bagged a try on his Saxons’ debut a few days later when the USA were beaten 87-8 at Northampton. Tom has made five Saxons’ appearances overall.
Düsseldorf-born, he started the subsequent match against Tonga at Kingsholm and the final that brought a 37-6 victory over Canada at Sixways, Worcester. It completed a memorable few weeks because he had also won the Gatorade Performance of the Season kudos at the Aviva Premiership awards. He received the accolade for his display in the 24-19 victory over Sale Sharks in November 2010.
Playing in all 44 matches in Exeter Chiefs’ first two campaigns in the Premiership in 2010-11 and 2011-12 is another of his distinctions. Tom agreed a new three-year contract with the Chiefs in January 2014, having helped them to fifth place last season and reached 65 Premiership games, against London Wasps this January. He has scored nine tries in the competition and previously appeared for Chinnor, Reading and Coventry, a club he joined in 2005-06.
He emerged through Reading RFC in 2004-05 when he played in all 28 of their National Three South and Cup matches, mostly at No. 8, and plundered 18 tries. He bagged four in a game twice, against Dings Crusaders and Lydney, while being a model team player and showing total commitment to building on his game.
Tom switched to Coventry the following season along the way to becoming the first Reading player to excel on the professional stage since Ayoola Erinle, then a future England centre, appeared for their juniors, colts and seniors.
During his Coventry days he scored an 80-metre try against Otley, an indication of his nimble footwork for a big man and ability to finish moves from long range. Tom, who has five Test caps, was the first Exeter Chiefs’ player to wear an England senior jersey since wing Martin Underwood did so 47 years earlier. He was only the fourth in the Chiefs’ post Second War history, the others being scrum half Richard Madge in 1948 and flanker Dick Manley in 1963.
Tom was also selected for the 2013 summer tour of South America and started the initial match that produced a 41-21 win over the CONSUR XV in Montevideo.
5 points - 1T
2012 SA (1,2,3), Fj, A
Last updated: January 13, 2014