Thomas Waldrom’s late try not only ensured maximum reward for the Exeter Chiefs against local rivals Bristol at the weekend, but it took him past a half century of touchdowns in the Aviva Premiership.
The free-scoring No.8’s latest brace took him to 51 tries, the second highest for a forward in the competition’s history and only eight behind former Leicester Tigers and England flanker Neil Back on 59.
The fact that 38 of those scores have come in the colours of the Chiefs shows the significant impact the 33-year-old has made since he arrived at Sandy Park from the Tigers during the summer of 2014.
Not for the first time in his Chiefs career, Waldrom was the one making the headlines as his late touchdown on Saturday proved the defining nail in the coffin for basement club Bristol.
Exeter’s 38-34 victory over their nearest and dearest was the 12th time in 19 games this season that they had secured a try bonus point and means they are now guaranteed a place in the end of season play-offs.
With that target achieved, however, the next focus for Waldrom and his team-mates will be the trip to Harlequins this Friday (7:45pm) where they will be looking to maintain their impressive run of Premiership form and edge ever close to securing a home semi-final.
“For this time of the season, we’re in a good position,” said Waldrom. “We have our destiny in our own hands and we don’t need to rely on others. It’s about us and what we can control. If we had slipped up against Bristol that may not have been the case, so we have to take the positives from that game, rectify a few of the mistakes, and we’ll be in good shape.”
In what was a full-blooded local derby at the weekend, the Chiefs were made to fight tooth and nail for their latest league victory by a Bristol side fighting for their very existence amongst English rugby’s elite.
“It was a very tough game and a good local derby,” added Waldrom. “Bristol threw everything at us, they gave it a good go, so you have to give them credit.
“If we’re honest, the last two weeks haven’t gone quite to plan, but in both games we have shown real resilience, we’ve dug deep and we’ve come away with the wins and all five points. It shows we’re a good side and we’re working hard for one another, but we know we can make things easier for each other.
“We know we have to be a bit more accurate in what we’re doing. The Premiership, though, is a tough place and it’s never easy whoever you’re playing against. You have to make sure you get up mentally week in, week out.
“Friday is going to be another massive challenge for us, Quins’ are another strong side with some great players, but if we prepare well, get things in order, we’ll look to go up there and put in another big performance.”