England v Australia, November 17
Waldrom happy to be in England jam
November 14, 2012
England's Thomas Waldrom - complete with St George's Cross headgear - soaks up a tackle during his side's clash with Fiji © Getty Images
Kiwi-born England flanker Thomas Waldrom insists he is totally committed to his adopted country although admits the culture is taking still taking some getting used to.
Waldrom moved to Premiership side Leicester in 2010 with the intention of fulfilling the three-year residency criteria that would enable him to play for England. However, he would later discover that he qualified automatically through his grandmother - and within six months he was in England's Rugby World Cup squad.
His speedy promotion was not welcomed by all with his international debut eventually following on England recent tour of South Africa and 29-year-old maintains his loyalty to the England team has never been in doubt.
"Playing my first Test match was probably the highlight of my career. The boys have accepted me really well, they know what I am here for," Waldrom said. "They know I am 100% for England and I will do anything I can do perform the best I can for the team.
"Stuart and the coaching staff have spent a lot of time building a team culture. It is about accepting people for who they are. Everyone has different personalities in the team, which you have to embrace and enjoy. I am loving the environment.
"I get a bit of stick because I don't come across sounding English and because of the things you say. Today's discussion was whether you put the jam or the cream first on your scones. I said I was more jam and then cream. They said the English way was cream first, so I said I would change to fit in!
"The boys give me stick for watching Home And Away so I have switched to Coronation Street. I am slowly getting into that sort of stuff!"
Waldrom has also revealed the former England coach Martin Johnson made a point of checking that he was fully committed to the red rose. "When I first got into the squad during the World Cup, Johnno took my aside and said 'do you know what you are doing because one day you will have to play the All Blacks?' Waldrom recounted. "I said: 'I know that but this is the thing I want to do'."
Waldrom retained the No.8 jersey for last weekend's 54-12 win against Fiji and he is poised to pace down against Australia this Saturday with rival Ben Morgan having been released for club duty with Gloucester.
"It is one game you look forward to playing," Waldrom said. "You want to be playing against the best teams in the world to measure yourself and it will be like that on Saturday.
"You can't look at their one game against France (which resulted in a 33-6 defeat) in isolation. You have to go back and look at what they did in the Rugby Championship, how they pushed NZ to an 18-18 draw. We know they will be a lot stronger than last week.
"We have to be 15-20% better than we were against Fiji. We have got to take our chances. We have built a great platform and hopefully we can put those performances on the field now."
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