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Waldrom nervous for Tigers reunion

England international Thomas Waldrom has admitted to feeling "a little bit nervous" as he prepares for a crucial Aviva Premiership clash against his former club Leicester.

Victory for Waldrom's new club Exeter at Welford Road on Saturday - he joined the Chiefs from Leicester last summer - would severely dent the Tigers' Premiership play-off hopes.

Exeter are currently second in the table, nine points behind runaway leaders Northampton, but Leicester find themselves narrowly outside the play-off zone with just five games left.

With title hopefuls Saracens and Bath both favourites to win their respective games against Harlequins and London Welsh this weekend, Leicester could find themselves on the back foot if they lose.

And Waldrom, who tops the Premiership try-scoring chart this term with 12 touchdowns, knows there can be no room for sentiment.

"It is a game I am looking forward to, but I am also a little bit nervous as well," number eight Waldrom said.

"I knew the time was going to come when I would have to go back there, but it's here now and I know how important a game it is in the context of the season and where we want to go.

"We know what we have to do between now and the end of the season, and the first of those tests starts this weekend at Welford Road.

"You have to go to Leicester and play - you can't be afraid of all the history.

"For them, it's great to have that history, and I was very fortunate to be a part of that during my time at the club, but we have to go there and play our style and attack them as best we can."

Exeter welcome back England wing Jack Nowell, while Leicester are buoyed by returning red rose quartet Ben Youngs, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole and Geoff Parling following last weekend's dramatic conclusion to the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter said: "We have five (league) rounds remaining, and we are in a position we've never been in before.

"I know, speaking to the guys, that this challenge will bring the best out of us, but at the same time we have to make the most of the day and the whole occasion and not think any further than 5pm on Saturday.

"Right now, there are a number of teams all fighting for the top four and the top six, but it's so tight that when you say you are fighting for the top six, in reality you are fighting for the top four.

"A win here or there, or the odd bonus point, it can all change very quickly.

"And that is why I've said to the group that I am not overly concerned where we will be in five or six weeks. I want to look to see where we will be on Saturday afternoon, and that's all that matters."

Saracens host Quins at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, when a new world record attendance for a rugby union club match could be set, surpassing the 83,889 figure that witnessed last season's game between the sides at the same venue.

"It is great for both sets of players to be involved in an occasion like this, especially on the back of the Six Nations," Saracens rugby director Mark McCall said.

"For the international players, it would be more difficult to go somewhere else and play again after what happened last weekend.

"But to go to Wembley, with maybe up to 90,000 people there, will be exciting for everyone."

Elsewhere on Saturday, London Irish host Newcastle, while Bath visit London Welsh 24 hours later, with Sunday's other Premiership game seeing Sale Sharks having home advantage against Gloucester.


From Belfast Telegraph