Former Crusaders No 8 Thomas Waldrom could be the latest Kiwi to make his Test debut for England this year.
With former Hurricanes centre Riki Flutey and former New Zealand rugby league international Shontayne Hape already in the England setup, Waldrom could join the duo as the third New Zealander to play for the 2011 Six Nations champions.
The Leicester Mercury has reported that Waldrom, who is currently playing for Leicester after leaving the Crusaders last season, is eligible to play for England this season and could feature for Martin Johnson’s charges in his homeland at the World Cup in September and October.
The 27-year-old has confirmed that he doesn’t have to serve the IRB’s 36-month residency regulation for players switching nationalities because his grandmother is English.
‘In theory, I could play tomorrow if they wanted me,’ Waldrom said. ‘I would definitely take it if I got the nod for the World Cup. My agent came round and he brought the pamphlet with the International Rugby Board’s rules regarding qualifying after residency.
‘My wife was going through the criteria. She saw the line about being able to qualify immediately if one of your grandparents was born in the respective country.
‘I remembered reading somewhere that my grandmother was English. I rang up my mum in New Zealand, where it was four o’clock in the morning, and asked if Nana was born in England. She said yes, and that she also had the birth certificate to prove it.’
Waldrom’s brother, Chiefs flanker Scott, has featured for the All Blacks before but the former was never considered for the national side during his time with the Hurricanes and Crusaders. Waldrom says he will accept a call-up if given one.
‘It would be a great honour to put the [England] shirt on,’ added Waldrom. ‘It would be a privilege to play against the All Blacks if the chance came along, and would be a chance for me to show them just how good I am.’