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Palmer could extend French sojourn
ESPNscrum Staff
February 1, 2011
Stade Francais lock Tom Palmer, Bath v Stade Francais, Heineken Cup, The Recreation Ground, October 18, 2009
Tom Palmer will make a decision on his future in 2010 © Getty Images
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England lock Tom Palmer could follow in the footsteps of Jonny Wilkinson and defy the RFU by signing a new contract to remain in France with Stade Francais.

Wilkinson agreed new terms with Toulon in December, endangering his England career following the RFU's edict that they will stop selecting overseas-based players after this year's Rugby World Cup.

Palmer, 31, joined Stade in 2009, along with former Wasps team-mate James Haskell, and will need to make a decision on his future next year when his current deal expires.

"I can understand the RFU's point of view," Palmer said. "I can understand they have a lot more control over the English-based players than they do have over guys based in France because of the EPS agreement and they pay the clubs for the privilege of doing so.

"I enjoy being in France and it is the right place for me at the moment. I think I have improved as a player over the last few years, partly from being in France and partly from just maturing generally.

"James Haskell has been playing some fantastic rugby recently for us at Stade Francais and he has definitely improved as a player by playing over there. I have got one more left on my contract so I am in France until July 2012. This time next year I will have to make a decision and that will depend on the circumstances at the time and what offers I get from England and France.

"If I had to choose now it would be a difficult decision. Next year, the World Cup will have been so that may make a difference on how I do things."

Palmer is set to line-up against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Friday as the Six Nations gets underway and is expecting them to fare better in Cardiff than they did in 2007 and 2009.

"Two years ago we didn't start very well and Wales blew us away," he said. "We are a much better team now than was there two years ago and four years ago. We are playing better rugby, we have a better mix and we have a gameplan which suits us and we all enjoy playing to."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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