Tom first came to Leeds to begin a University degree but was soon spotted by director of rugby Phil Davies, at his first game playing for the University. Tom played for Leeds Tykes under 19s during his first year of study, and then decided to change to part-time study when he was taken into the first team squad in September 1998.
Tom made his debut against Blackheath on 2nd September 1998. Tom made a total of 10 appearances for the Tykes during his first season, helping Leeds to finish in 6th place in National Division 2. Tom became a regular first team player during the 99-00 season, only missing 4 games throughout the season.
The most notable game for Tom was against Worcester in November 1999 when he scored his first try in the 20-9 win at Headingley. The year the Tykes finished top of Division 1 Tom again played an important role in the side, making a total 20 appearances and scoring 8 tries.
In the Tetley's Bitter Cup competition in October Palmer was one of nine try scorers who helped the Tykes to a magnificent 100-0 win over Morely. In the Tykes first season in the Premiership Tom began in his now regular central role, making 15 appearances, however during in the game between England A and Wales A Tom broke his leg.
The injury meant that the loss against Northampton Saints in March was the last game he featured in during the season. Palmer was back to full fitness for the start of the 2002-2003 season and did not miss a game for the Tykes during the entire Zurich Premiership campaign.
Tom again earned an international call up and toured with England on Churchill Cup duty to Canada, however injury again, this time to his knee meant that he was ruled out for the start of the following season.
Once Tom had regained full fitness he rejoined the Tykes in January during the 3-27 loss against the Saracens. Tom achieved two milestones for the Tykes during the 2003-04 season, firstly becoming one of four players to have ever played 100 games for the Tykes and he also became the clubs youngest captain.
In the 2004-05 season Tom's passion and commitment to Tykes paid off when he collected his Powergen Cup winners medal. Tom left the club at the end of a disappointing season for the club in 2006 when the side were relegated from the Premiership. In total Tom played 188 games for the club and scored 20 tries.
Tom originally elected to play for Scotland at Under 21 level but was then persuaded to join the English for full honours. He earned a place in the England A squad whilst still playing in National Division One and was then rewarded with a place on the Summer tour to North America.
After appearing in the midweek sides, Tom made his debut in the final game of the tour against the USA in San Francisco on June 16 when he came on as a replacement in the second half for Steve Borthwick.
Palmer could have qualified for a number of countries before opting for the land of his birth. He was born in Haringey, London, and spent his early years in Kenya, where his father was a field officer for Voluntary Service Overseas.
When Palmer Snr became chief executive of the Citizens' Advice Bureau in Scotland, the family moved to Edinburgh. A pupil at Boroughmuir High School, Palmer played for Scotland Under-19s and Under-21s, catching the eye of Ian McGeechan. He deferred a place at Leeds University for a year, attending Otago Boys High School and graduating to play for New Zealand Schools.
After his A levels at Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh, Tom, deferred his place at the University of Leeds for a year while he went to New Zealand. When he came to Leeds to begin his degree he was quickly spotted by director of rugby Phil Davies, at his first game playing for the University.
Tom played for Leeds Tykes under 19s during his first year, and then decided to change to part-time study when he was taken into the first team squad in September 1998. He completed his physics degree over the next three years, juggling his studies with the demands of professional rugby. Tom graduated with a BSc in physics.
|DOB||27th Mar 1979|
|Height||1.98 m (6' 6")|
|Weight||116 kg (18 st 3 lb)|
|Honours||England (42 caps)|