U.S. rugby star Thretton Palamo, a Davis High graduate who played for the American side in a Nations Pacific Cup match in Sacramento last month, has made the jump to high-level European rugby.
Last week, Palamo reportedly signed on with Saracens FC, which is based in London and plays in the Aviva Premiership, the top level of domestic rugby union in England.
Palamo, who had already become the youngest player in rugby World Cup history when he graduated from DHS in 2007, played rugby and college football at Utah.
His recent signing with Saracens was a bit unorthodox since it came out of the National Rugby Football League combine in March, which was the first event of its kind in America. Palamo and Don Pati, who were both All-Americans at Utah, caught the eyes of the Sarries scouts on hand and eventually received contract offers.
Palamo, who can play in the center or on the wing, will arrive at Saracens on a three-month trial and join their burgeoning American contingent with Chris Wyles, Hayden Smith and Titi Lamositele already at the club. Palamo has a three-month trial, at the end of which he’ll either be extended or likely join the U.S 7s squad at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.
This is his second shot at professional rugby. He signed on with Biarritz at the age of 19 following the 2007 World Cup, but opted to come back to America and go to college. After a standout rugby career at Utah, which included a Collegiate Rugby Championship, Palamo walked on to the Utes football team and earned a scholarship.
“Last time I was doing it, just getting out of high school, it was something fun to do,” Palamo told Rugby Today. “Taking it all in, I was a kid playing the video games, and next thing I know I’m playing against the guys I was playing in the video games like in real life. That was kind of mind-blowing.
“This time around, I have football under my belt. Anyone who gets through football, especially at Division I, you come out a lot more responsible, you know what you have to do now. It’s like boot camp, really, for life. I’m all about film and training, and this time around I’m ready to understand that it’s work. And I’m excited for that. I’m excited about the job.”