Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter admits he is very disappointed that Thomas Waldrom will miss Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Final against Saracens at Twickenham.
Waldrom was top of the try-scoring charts with 16 last season and again this season with 13, one ahead of both Bath Rugby’s Semesa Rokoduguni and Christian Wade of Wasps.
But a knee ligament injury means the No 8, affectionately known as ‘The Tank’, will miss the final but Baxter said Waldrom still had a part to play at Twickenham.
“I think it’s very disappointing for Thomas, he’s had a fantastic season,” he said.
“I very much feel for him missing out on the final because he’s very much been a driving force for us now for a couple of years.
“He’s a big part of what we want to be at the club, he’s his own character he brings his own sense of humour to things.
“I feel very disappointed for him, but after the initial disappointment he’s been very good at getting his head around things.
“He’s been very positive about the place this week and he’ll play his part up there this weekend.”
The disappointment of losing Waldrom was countered earlier this week by the news that Will Chudley would be available after it was ruled he accidentally kicked Joe Launchbury in the semi-final.
An RFU panel concluded that Chudley’s attempt to kick the ball was deflected by the thigh of Matt Mullan into Launchbury’s head.
Chudley is now free to face the European champions tomorrow, and Baxter is fully aware of the size of the task his side will face.
“There’s no doubt, quite rightly, they are regarded as the best team in Europe, I have no complaints with that,” Baxter added.
“I think they are a better team than when we played them last year but so are we.
“They are very well coached and they get massive parts of their game plan right.
“We are pretty comfortable with what we need to do. I don’t think we are going to be a team that goes there and enjoys walking around in the sun at Twickenham before the game.
“We know we are going to have to go and commit ourselves to the physical battle and if we do that we give ourselves a chance.”
If you want to be at the world's biggest club rugby final, this year's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on Saturday 28 May at Twickenham, tickets are available from premiershiprugby.com/final