New Zealander Thomas Waldrom has voiced pride at his “crazy” call-up to the England’s World Cup squad.
The 28-year-old back-rower from Wellington, who moved to England last year and found out he was eligible to represent the country only months ago, was officially confirmed as replacement for injured Andrew Sheridan on Sunday.
And the Leicester No.8 said he is now determined to make the most of his chance.
“It’s a big honour. If I get an opportunity to play it will be a very big honour and my family will be very proud of me as well,” he said.
“It’s just one of those things. It’s a big turnaround but I’m just pleased to grab it at this stage of my career.”
The Leicester Tigers player admitted it had been a “pretty crazy” few days after he received the surprise call-up as cover for the injured Nick Easter, and was then added to the squad as a replacement for Andrew Sheridan.
Waldrom discovered only months ago that he could play for England because of an English grandmother, but he was then hit by a calf injury during a pre-World Cup training camp.
It was been a head-spinning turn of events for a player who arrived at Leicester thinking he would have to wait three years to become eligible for England through residency.
However, Waldrom is realistic about his prospects of making his international debut in his home country.
“I knew the deal when I was coming out, I could only be here for a little stint and then have to go home,” he said. “But you do anything you can to get this opportunity and it’s here now so I’m pretty happy to be here.”