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Palmer happy to choose England

Tom Palmer has never regretted choosing to play for England ahead of Sunday's RBS 6 Nations opponents Scotland, even in the long years when he was struggling to establish himself at Test level.

The 31-year-old lock, born in London but a former pupil at Boroughmuir High School, played for Scotland Under-19s and Under-21s before declaring his senior international allegiance to England.

"It was a decision I made a long time ago and I am very pleased with it. I am looking forward to the game at the weekend and playing for England," Palmer said. "If I had gone down the Scottish route there would have been lots of legalities because I was born in England and have English parents."

"I went to school up there. It would have been a residency issue. It might not ever have happened. I did not explore it and I have no regrets over that. I always had faith in my own ability, faith I would get in and establish myself and play regularly for England."

It is only in the last 12 months, and since the axeing of former captain Steve Borthwick, that Palmer has finally blossomed into an England regular.

There was a five-year gap between his first and second caps and, after a decade as a Test player, he has still only made 23 appearances for England.

England, who beat France 17-9 two weekends ago, are priced as 1/14 favourites to despatch Scotland and leave themselves one step away from the Grand Slam. Not since manager Martin Johnson was captain in 2003 have England been unbeaten in their first three matches. They went on to complete the Grand Slam and win the World Cup.

Scotland, in contrast, are without a win in the championship and are strong wooden spoon contenders, but in Johnson's eyes that makes them dangerous.

"For Scotland to come to Twickenham and win would be a big result for them," Johnson said. "It is an easy game for them in a way because everyone is talking about us. They will be desperate to get a win, desperate to win at Twickenham and beat England.

"They will be dangerous and we need to get ourselves at the right level. It would be a big result for us if we can win."


From Belfast Telegraph