Thomas Waldrom may be a somewhat unexpected winner of the Trivento Top Try-Scorer of the Season award but the No.8 believes his move to Exeter Chiefs kept driving him over the whitewash this year.
The 32-year-old became the first forward since Neil Back in 1999 to top the try-scoring charts, equalling the Leicester Tigers legend’s tally of 16 in a stunning debut season for the Chiefs.
Alongside fellow Exeter stars Matt Jess and Henry Slade, Waldrom was also one of only three players to start every round of Aviva Premiership Rugby this campaign, following his move from the Tigers last summer.
While his haul included try doubles in thrilling victories over Northampton Saints and Saracens, Waldrom’s scoring prowess was not enough to land his side a semi-final spot as they narrowly missed out on a dramatic final day.
But after collecting his trophy at Wednesday night’s Aviva Premiership Rugby awards, held at the London Hilton on Park Lane, Waldrom insists it has still been a season to savour.
“When I came to Exeter it was more about getting more game time,” he said. “That was my main goal but I have exceeded expectations and that’s quite nice.
“I enjoy the way we are playing, I know next year will be a new start and fingers crossed I can do the same again.
“We have got systems that allow me to get my hands on the ball and do stuff with it. It was a pretty easy sell to come to Exeter and I have really enjoyed myself.
“This tournament has been a tough old slog but it has been great to be a part of.”
It was a successful night for Chiefs players, with Slade being named Land Rover Discovery of the Season ahead of teammate Jack Nowell, while Dave Evers, Tomas Francis and Dean Mumm were also selected in the BT Sport Dream Team.
And despite the departure of captain Mumm this summer, Waldrom is confident Exeter can go one step further and make the top four next season, with the help of two familiar faces.
“We know what we have to do next year, we will knuckle down in preseason and see if we can iron out a few things,” he added.
“With Julian Salvi coming down there was only so much I could say and Geoff Parling will bring some experience too but we all have to work together to make it work.”
Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final are selling faster than this time last year so now's the time to click here to book your place at the world's biggest club rugby final