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Waldrom joins the Chiefs

20th January 2014 09:13

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thomas waldrom leicester tigers

Move south: Thomas Waldrom

Leicester Tigers number eight Thomas Waldrom is "excited" by the challenge ahead after sealing a move to Exeter Chiefs.

The 30-year-old England international will join the Devon club from the start of next season after recently agreeing a three-year contract with the Chiefs.

Waldrom's switch to the West Country will bring to an end a successful four-year stint at Welford Road for the powerful back-row forward.

Not only has he won five caps for England during his time in the East Midlands, but he has also claimed a Premiership title, an LV= Cup winners' medal, and was crowned the Rugby Players' Association Player of the Year in 2011.

Born in Lower Hutt in New Zealand, Waldrom spent his early playing days featuring back home for provincial clubs Wellington and Hawke's Bay before he moved on to Super Rugby sides Hurricanes and Crusaders.

Waldrom has amassed 105 appearances for the club to date and scored 21 tries in the process. His arrival at Sandy Park is seen as a key indicator of Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter looking to bring in proven international talent to go alongside the ever-developing Exeter squad.

"I'm excited by the move because it's a fresh challenge for me," said Waldrom.

"I've had four fantastic years at Leicester and experienced so many high points with them. A lot of what I have achieved in the game has come from my time playing there, so I owe them and the supporters an awful lot.

"Also I've made a lot of good mates who I will no doubt stay in touch with, but when I spoke to Rob [Baxter] I liked what he had to say about the club, the direction it was heading and the plans for the future.

"I know from past experiences and playing against them that the Chiefs are a very strong side, especially down at Sandy Park, and that they have a very good culture amongst their squad. I think it will be good to be part of all of that and hopefully I can add something of my own to the mix."

"Obviously we're delighted to have signed Thomas on a three-year contract," said Exeter boss Rob Baxter.

"All the time we say we're looking to enhance and improve the squad and bringing in someone of his calibre and experience certainly does that.

"Thomas, we know, is not only a top quality international player, but he's vastly experienced and he joins us from what is a very good Leicester Tigers team. Where he plays on the field is a key position in any side, but add into that his versatility and his skill-set and it makes him a very good signing for us.

"We've had a good look at him and done some pretty detailed analysis on him.

"What we've seen is that he's not only a very good rugby player, but he's playing well and he is someone I know will add real top end quality to the squad.

"As we look to move forward as a club, I think it's vital that we have players like him coming into the squad. Although he has been around for what seems a very long time, he's still only 30 and we feel his best years are probably still to come."

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