Thretton Palamo

Last updated
Thretton Palamo
Thretton Palamo 2009 (cropped).jpg
Date of birth (1988-09-22) September 22, 1988 (age 33)
Place of birth Woodland, California
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight255 lb (18 st 3 lb; 116 kg)
Notable relative(s)Arona Palamo (father)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre
Senior career
London Welsh (loan)
Dragons (loan)
Old Glory DC
Houston SaberCats (loan)
Correct as of 28 April 2022
National team(s)
Samoa U19
United States U20
United States
Correct as of 31 March 2020
National sevens team(s)
2008– United States 19 (40)

Thretton Palamo (born September 22, 1988) is an American rugby union player who plays centre for Old Glory DC of Major League Rugby (MLR). [1]


When he appeared in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, he became the youngest ever player to have played in the Rugby World Cup, [2] a record that was surpassed in 2015 by Vasil Lobzhanidze of Georgia. [3]

Youth and early career

Palamo was born in Woodland, California. Palamo is a graduate of Davis Senior High School in Davis, California. During his high school career he played both basketball, winning selection to the USA's U16 national team, and American football, leading his team in rushing yards and tackles during his senior year. He didn't officially start playing rugby until he was 16 when he joined the same club as his brothers, the San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club. [4]

Within six months of joining SFGG, Palamo was called to represent Samoa at U19 level and also went on to play Sevens for Samoa, the country of his father's birth. However, as he approached 18 — the age deadline to commit to a specific national team — he decided to play for his own country of birth, the United States, saying this could create opportunities for other Samoan players. [4] [5]

University of Utah

With a recommendation from USA Rugby World Cup teammate and Utah's head rugby coach Blake Burdette, Palamo went to Utah and played rugby union and American football for the Utes. He spent his freshman year just playing rugby. In June 2010, he led the Scrummin' Utes to victory in the inaugural Collegiate Rugby Championship, scoring two tries in a 31–26 overtime win over the California Golden Bears. [6] [7] A desire to play American football and some help from Burdette, a former Utes tight end, saw Palamo join the Utes American football program in early 2011, taking part in spring scrimmages as a running back. [6] [8]

Club career

He played in France for Top 14 club Biarritz during the 2008-09 season and played alongside fellow Eagles international Takudzwa Ngwenya. Despite signing a three-year contract with Biarritz, he returned to the United States at the end of his first season to continue his studies. [4]

Palamo returned to professional club rugby in 2014, signing a three-month trial contract with Saracens for the 2014–15 season. [9] Palamo made his professional rugby debut playing 55 minutes for Saracens in a win over Ospreys in LV= Cup. [10] After making three appearances for Saracens, Palamo joined London Welsh on a year long loan for the 2015-16 RFU Championship season. [11] However, on 31 December 2015, Palamo left London Welsh by early release to fully return to the United States Sevens set-up. [12]

On 27 June 2016 it was confirmed that Palamo would return to England to join Bristol ahead of their return to the Premiership in 2016. [13] In September 2017 he joined the Dragons on a short-term loan to cover injuries. [14]

He was released by Bristol in April 2018.

He joined Major League Rugby team Houston Sabercats in 2019. [1] In 2020, he signed with expansion team Old Glory DC. [15] He was co-captain of the team in their first two professional seasons, alongside flanker Mungo Mason. He re-signed with the team for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. [16] [17]

International career

Palamo was called into the United States squad to participate at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He played his only match of the tournament in the 15–64 loss to South Africa on 30 September 2007. The appearance was just eight days after his 19th birthday and made him the youngest player in Rugby World Cup history, lowering the record of Federico Méndez of Argentina, who was 19 years and 63 days when he appeared at the 1991 Rugby World Cup. [2] As noted earlier, that record was surpassed in 2015 by Lobzhanidze, who played for Georgia against Tonga less than a month before his 19th birthday.

Palamo made his only other full test appearance for the Eagles in a tour match against Japan in Tokyo on 22 November 2008 before going on to captain the USA's Sevens team at the 2009 World Games in Taiwan. [4] [18] [19]

Palamo returned to international rugby starting at inside centre for the US in their 2014 IRB Pacific Nations Cup match against Canada. [20]


Palamo's father, Arona Palamo, played international rugby union at centre and flyhalf for Samoa between 1979 and 1982 before moving to San Francisco to take up an academic scholarship at UC Davis. [5] [21] Palamo has one younger sister and two older brothers, Toshi and Seta, who have both played Sevens for the United States. [22] His father introduced him to rugby union and he was influenced to play the sport after watching his brothers play. [4]

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  1. 1 2{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. 1 2 (French). "Palamo entre dans l'histoire". L'Equipe. Retrieved 30 September 2007.[ dead link ]
  3. "Georgia spring first surprise by taking down Tonga". ESPN (UK). PA Sport. 19 September 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Mangum, Mike. "Palamo brings 'phenomenal' experience to rugby". Utah Chronicle. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  5. 1 2 Fitzpatrick, Joel. "Thretton takes milestone in his stride". International Rugby Board. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  6. 1 2 Jensen, Jeremiah. "Utah's Thretton Palamo makes transition from rugby to football". KSL Broadcasting. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  7. "Utah stun Cal to Collegiate title". UR7s. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  8. "Utah Football Holds First Scrimmage of the Spring". CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  9. "Aviva Premiership: Thretton Palamo set to join Saracens on short-term contract". sky sports. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  10. espnscrum . Retrieved 7 November 2014.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. "Thretton Palamo Loaned To London Welsh". TIAR. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  12. "Palamo left London Welsh for return to USA Sevens". Americas Rugby News. 31 December 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  13. "USA centre Thretton Palamo to join Bristol ahead of Premiership season". Sky Sports. 27 June 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  14. "Dragons sign versatile Bristol back Palamo as injury cover". 19 September 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017 via
  15. "Thretton Palamo checks in at Old Glory". Americas Rugby News. 2 December 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  16. "Thretton Palamo sticks with Old Glory for 2021". Americas Rugby News. 22 July 2020. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  17. "Thretton Palamo signs on for another season with Old Glory". Americas Rugby News. 6 October 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  18. "United States of America tour". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
  19. Heymann, Robin. "Best of the Best - USA National Sevens Championships". UR7s. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  20. "Eagles fight back to edge Canada". planetrugby. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  21. "Players & Officials / Arona Palamo". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  22. Schwartz, Ray. "America's Rise". USA Rugby. Retrieved 19 October 2007.