The Seattle Seawolves traded AJ Alatimu for Joe Taufete’e for the 2024 Major League Rugby season. The 31-year-old hooker/tighthead prop (32 in October) is 6’0″ and 265 lbs.
Joe played 390 minutes in 7 matches, starting 6, and scoring 4 tries for the Houston SaberCats after joining the team from the Leicester Tigers for 2023.
Joe joined the SaberCats from the Leicester Tigers where he played 34 minutes in 4 matches in the Guinness Premiership during the 2022-2023 season. He also briefly played as a replacement in one match during the European Rugby Championship Cup. Joe was a late-season addition in 2022 for the LA Giltinis, playing 477 minutes in 8 matches, starting 7, and scoring one try.
Joe was born in Nu’uuli, American Samoa, before moving to the San Francisco Bay area with his family when he was 5 years old. His hometown became Vallejo, California, and he attended Garden Grove High School, before transferring to Vallejo High School, where he played youth football and basketball.
He attended Santa Ana College in 2010 and 2011, playing football for the Dons as a defensive tackle, and made multiple All=Conference teams before an ACL injury had him leaving football and playing rugby for the Belmont Shore Under-19s in 2011, and the senior side from 2012 to 2013.
Joe played rugby in New Zealand in 2014 with Sciota Valley and Otorohanga Rugby Football Clubs before making his USA National Team debut at the 2015 Rugby World Cup against South Africa in London on October 7. He would also play at the American Rugby Championships in 2016, 2017, and 2019, the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He has played in 35 tests.
Joe established a new record in 2019 for the most tries by a tight 5 player in international tests, surpassing Ireland’s Keith Wood with 20 tries, and has 21 tries to date.
From 2016 through 2020, he played 36 matches, starting 27, and scoring two tries, with the Worcester Warriors in the English Premiership. He then signed a two-year contract with Lyon for 2020 through 2022. In 2022 he asked for early termination of his contract with Lyon to return to the United States to play Major League Rugby with the LA Giltinis.