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Waldrom stunned by England call-up

Thomas Waldrom was taken by surprise when he turned up for training at Leicester on Monday and discovered he had been called up by England.

The 28-year-old Tigers number eight is en route to his native New Zealand to provide cover for Nick Easter, who is struggling with a back injury. Waldrom arrived at Leicester's Oval Park but was instead told by Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill to get his things packed because he was heading to Dunedin.

"It was a swell feeling and I had to rush home and tell my wife what was happening," Waldrom told the Leicester Mercury. "I am going out as cover so it's difficult to know what might happen. We will just have to wait and see."

Waldrom was a member of England's initial 45-man World Cup training squad but he was hampered by a calf injury and was cut before the August warm-up internationals.

The 28-year-old has played in all three of Leicester's Aviva Premiership games and scored a try in the opening-day defeat to Exeter Chiefs.

Waldrom was born in Lower Hutt, near Wellington, and only discovered in March that he qualified for England courtesy of his grandmother.

Leicester had signed Waldrom from the Crusaders on the basis he would not be called up for international duty. His departure weakens Cockerill's back row resources even further. Jordan Crane and Craig Newby are both injured while Tom Croft is in the England squad.

The Tigers now have 12 representatives at the World Cup, although Waldrom cannot link up with England until he is officially brought into the squad.

"I am pleased for Thomas but it is far from ideal for us," said Cockerill. "We recruited Thomas because we thought he would have to wait three years before he qualified for England - now this happens.

"We have just got to crack on and get on with it."


From Belfast Telegraph