England international Palmer to join Gloucester

Aviva Premiership Rugby club Gloucester have announced that they have signed England international second rower Tom Palmer for next season.

Following the signings of John Afoa, Mariano Galarza and Richard Hibbard, Palmer will be another new face in the Gloucester front five next season, and will give Nigel Davies some enviable options in the second row with Galarza, James Hudson and Elliott Stooke already under contract.

The Haringey born player started his senior career with Leeds Tykes while he was studying at the University of Leeds, and went on to make 190 appearances for the Headingley based club.

He then moved to London Wasps, where he played between 2006 and 2009 before spending three seasons with Stade Francais. He returned to Wasps in the summer of 2012 and has made 88 appearances in all competitions.

He first appeared for the England Saxons in 2001, and won his first senior cap as a replacement for Steve Borthwick in England’s victory over the United States in San Francisco on 16 June 2001.

He has since gone on to win 42 caps for his country, as well as enjoying a superb career at club level which includes winning the Heineken Cup with Wasps.

Discussing Palmer’s signing, Director of Rugby Nigel Davies expressed his delight at securing the services of such an experienced and talented performer.

“Tom played for England just over a year ago, he’s a quality player with a proven track record. He brings a lot of experience and is English qualified which is important and he should be available for the bulk of the season.

“So, we’re really pleased to have signed Tom, I think he’ll be a great addition to the squad that we’re currently putting together. It adds real strength in depth to that area of the squad.

“He also has experience of winning at club level which is important. Tom is still very ambitious. As I’ve said all along, part of this recruitment process has been about me meeting the players to judge their state of mind in terms of their ambition.

“Tom is very eager to continue to be successful, and he thinks that coming into the squad at Gloucester next season is going to allow him to be able to do that.”

Davies also conceded that the prospect of playing at Kingsholm, in front of the Shed, had played a major factor in Palmer’s decision.

“It’s never difficult, when you speak to players from outside of the club, to convey what Kingsholm stands for in terms of the environment and the passion. It’s there for all to see and it’s never a tough sell.

“He’s genuinely excited about it, as all the other signings are, about the squad that we’re pulling together and playing for Gloucester Rugby.”

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