Palmer back with the pack after interest from French
Brumbies prop Dan Palmer could be headed to France to play. Photo: Melissa Adams
ACT BRUMBIES prop Dan Palmer could be bidding bon voyage to Australian rugby as the fringe Wallaby weighs up an overseas move at the end of the season.
The 24-year-old has recently returned from a reconnaissance mission to France where he met with several clubs interested in securing the services of the improving tight-head.
While the Brumbies are keen to extend Palmer's deal beyond this year, a lot will depend on whether he receives a top-up deal with the Australian Rugby Union.
That's unlikely given he has played only one Test and it is understood the ARU has reduced the number of players on guaranteed contracts.
Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan conceded Palmer's stellar performances would make him a lucrative target in the bash-and-crash world of French rugby.
''You expect a player of his quality to have interest from overseas clubs and we completely understand that,'' Fagan said.
''He needs to assess all of his options. The ARU generally wants to assess players over the course of the season before determining their level of interest.
''We've had some initial conversations with Palms [to extend his contract] and they're ongoing.''
Palmer informed the Brumbies of his French visit before the Christmas break and he is back in Canberra in time for the resumption of training on Monday.
Quality tight-head props are highly sought by European clubs as they traditionally play a less expansive style than Super Rugby.
Another lure for Palmer could be the chance to be among familiar faces - Fairfax Media understands one of the French clubs he spoke with was Grenoble, which has an affinity for former Brumbies players given it is home to Anthony Hegarty, Ben Hand and Henry Vanderglas.
Palmer has been a revelation at the Brumbies since switching from the Waratahs two years ago in search of more opportunities.
He has taken his chance with both hands, becoming an integral part of the Brumbies' scrum and taking on a leadership role as the club's vice-captain.
That form led to his international debut for the Wallabies in last year's Test with Scotland in Newcastle when several front-line props were unavailable, before a foot injury ruled Palmer out of the Rugby Championship series and spring tour.
The Brumbies are also hoping to tie up their two most experienced internationals, hooker Stephen Moore and prop Ben Alexander, to longer contracts. Palmer's departure would open the door for Alexander to move from loose-head to tight-head, the position he's filled for the Wallabies.
Alexander proved he is one of the premier tight-head props in world rugby with a dominating performance in Australia's 20-14 win over England at Twickenham during the spring tour.
''We've got plenty of other guys in a similar boat [to Palmer] we've initiated discussions with, high-profile guys like Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander that are quite developed negotiations,'' Fagan said. ''I don't think Palms in a massive rush to make a decision, and that suits us fine.''