Thretton Palamo

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Thretton Palamo
Thretton Palamo 2009 (cropped).jpg
Date of birth (1988-09-22) September 22, 1988 (age 25)
Place of birth Woodland, California
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight 235 lb (107 kg)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Centre
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Biarritz Olympique
Saracens FC
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Samoa Samoa U-19s
United States U-20s
 United States
(10) 2t
(5) 1t
correct as of 22 June 2014.
Sevens national teams
Years Club / team Comps
2008-2009, 2014-present  United States

Thretton Palamo (born September 22, 1988 in Woodland, California) is an American rugby union player of Samoan descent who plays as a centre or fly-half. He is the youngest ever player to have made an appearance at the Rugby World Cup. He is a graduate of Davis Senior High School in Davis, California and attends the University of Utah.

Early career[edit]

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.[1]

Within six months of joining SFGG, Palamo was called to represent Samoa at U19 level and also went on to play Sevens for 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.[2][1]

University of Utah[edit]

With a recommendation from Utah alum, USA Rugby World Cup team-mate and Utah's head rugby coach Blake Burdette, Palamo went to Utah and now plays rugby union and American football for the Utes. He spent his freshman year just playing rugby and, in June 2010, led the Scrummin' Utes to victory in the inaugural USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship, scoring two tries in a 31-26 overtime win over the California Golden Bears.[3][4] 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.[3][5]

International rugby career[edit]

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.[6] 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 Chinese Taipei.[1][7][8]

Palamo returned to international rugby starting at inside centre for the USA in their 2014 IRB Pacific Nations Cup match against Canada.[9]

Professional rugby career[edit]

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.[1] Palamo returned to professional club rugby in 2014, signing a three month trial contract with Saracens for the 2014-15 season.[10]


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.[11][2] Palamo has one sister and two older brothers, Toshi and Seta, who have both played Sevens for the USA.[12] His father introduced him to rugby union and he was influenced to play the sport after watching his brothers play.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Mangum, Mike. "Palamo brings ‘phenomenal’ experience to rugby". Utah Chronicle. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Joel. "Thretton takes milestone in his stride". International Rugby Board. Retrieved 6 September 2007. 
  3. ^ a b Jensen, Jeremiah. "Utah's Thretton Palamo makes transition from rugby to football". KSL Broadcasting. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Utah stun Cal to Collegiate title". UR7s. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  5. ^ "Utah Football Holds First Scrimmage of the Spring". CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  6. ^ (French). "Palamo entre dans l'histoire". L'Equipe. Retrieved 30 September 2007. 
  7. ^ "United States of America tour". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 22 November 2008. 
  8. ^ Heymann, Robin. "Best of the Best - USA National Sevens Championships". UR7s. Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  9. ^ "Eagles fight back to edge Canada". planetrugby. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Aviva Premiership: Thretton Palamo set to join Saracens on short-term contract". sky sports. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  11. ^ "Players & Officials / Arona Palamo". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  12. ^ Schwartz, Ray. "America's Rise". USA Rugby. Retrieved 19 October 2007. 

External links[edit]