Rob Baxter believes the decision to award Thomas Waldrom the Aviva Premiership Player of the Month for November is "fully justified" after a highly promising start to his Exeter Chiefs career.
The 31-year-old has been the club’s stand-out figure so far this term, scoring seven tries in nine Premiership starts, to help the Chiefs position themselves in the top three of English rugby’s top flight.
His arrival this summer on a three-year deal from Leicester Tigers was questioned by some media observers who believed the England international had produced his best form whilst at Welford Road.
However, Baxter and the Chiefs clearly had a different take on the matter as they let the all-action back-row ace demonstrate his talents from the outset.
A try double on his league debut for the Devon club at London Welsh was the start of things for Waldrom, who has since continued to deliver week in, week out for his new employers who are also top of both their European and LV= Cup pools.
"I think it’s a fully justified award," said Baxter. "Tom’s not won an award for Exeter knocking over a couple of teams that everyone would expect us to beat, but he’s performed very well in those games.
"When you look through the fixtures we’ve had recently, they’ve been tough, top-of-the-table-type fixtures and Tom’s been one of our high-level performers in those games.
"It’s great to see him enjoying himself, great to see him scoring tries, and he’s had some important moments in those games when it comes to dictating momentum.
"If you tried to think of the top performers in the Premiership over the last month, you would be hard pressed to pick anyone else. If you did, it might be another Exeter player. We’ve been on good form as a team and the form of Tom goes hand-in-hand with that."
Among those to take note of Waldrom’s displays was England head coach Stuart Lancaster, who recently recalled the player back into his training squad for the recent Autumn internationals.
Although Waldrom did not add to his tally of four caps, the fact he is back on Lancaster’s radar is hugely encouraging with the Rugby World Cup just a year away.