Tom McLaren (born (1979-04-10)10 April 1979 in Stirling, Scotland) is a Scottish former rugby union player who played for Glasgow Warriors at the Flanker position.
McLaren joined Glasgow from Penrith Emus Rugby in Sydney, Australia, where he captained the club, aged 20, in the New South Wales Rugby Union Shute Shield competition, under the guidance of Head Coach Scott Johnson.
Like his brother James McLaren, he was born in Stirling and moved to Australia when his parents emigrated. The much younger Tom was only 4 weeks old at the time.
During one of his visits back to Scotland, Tom played for Stirling County in a Scottish Cup tie. "When I finished secondary school I came back and played with Stirling and that gave me a chance to get a feel of what it's like here," he said.
"It is really good to be back. This is my eighth time back to Scotland and it feels like a bit of a homecoming because, apart from my parents, all our family is here."
In Australia, he earned representative honours with the Australian All States Under 21s, New South Wales Waratahs Under 21s, New South Wales Country Cockatoos, Australian Rugby Legends, and the Australian Barbarians. He was also selected in the 2001 Australian Sevens squad and played with that side in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Sevens Tournament, but this did not affect his potential to play for Scotland - "It was a 20 man squad and I went over with them to the PNG tournament, but we went as the Australian Barbarians, so it did not commit me [to Australian Rugby]" he said.
"I checked that out with them and was told that if I had played in the World Sevens circuit then I would have been Australian [as far as rugby commitment goes].
"However, while I definitely wanted to do as much as I possibly could in Australian rugby, this was always the way I wanted to go.
"It was always my priority to come back to Scotland and this is my opportunity to see if I've got what Glasgow want."
Tom McLaren's first start for Glasgow was against Cardiff RFC. He made another two appearances from the bench for Glasgow in the Welsh-Scottish League away to Pontypridd RFC and Llanelli RFC.
McLaren only played one season - 2001-02 - in Glasgow, during which time he also played a number of tests for the Scottish Development side (v France, and v Wales). He was signed by Blaydon RFC, but also worked as a Rugby Development Officer for the English Rugby Union in the North-East of England, delivering social inclusion projects.
In 2003-4 season, McLaren moved from Blaydon to play for Darlington Mowden Park. Over these years he also played a number of games with the Newcastle Falcons Academy side.
As a Rugby Development Officer in Newcastle, McLaren assisted colleague Matt Bryan in founding the junior arm of the West End Academicals Rugby Club. He worked in schools throughout the region. North-East Rugby Development Manager Matt Carter gave McLaren a glowing recommendation: "There is one school in the patch where 20 different languages are spoken, so diverse is the community. But Tom, with his Aussie accent and dreadlocked hairdo, easily adapted and struck up a rapport with the kids. He was absolutely brilliant and engaged all the different communities."
Outside of rugby, McLaren has three tertiary qualifications; Bachelor of Arts - Industrial Design from the University of Western Sydney, Master of Aviation Management from Griffith University, and Master of Strategic Organisational Development from the University of New England. In 2014, McLaren was also a contributing author in a global Project Management textbook.