San Diego Legion signed Payton Telea-Ilalio for the 2024 Major League Rugby season. The 25-year-old loosehead prop is 5’11and 245 lbs.
Payton played 573 minutes in 12 matches, starting 8, and scored 2 tries for the American Raptors during the 2023 Super Rugby Americas season. He played 200 minutes in 5 matches, starting twice, and scored two tries for Austin Gilgronis in 2022. He then joined the American Raptors in the Fall of 2022.
Payton grew up in Hunters Point, California, and attended Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco. He played youth rugby for San Francisco Golden Gate.
He attended Saint Mary’s College of California from 2016 through his graduation in 2020. The team won the 2017 D1A National Championship, and he played for the USA Collegiate All-Americans against Canada in 2019. He also won the 2019-2020 Rudy Scholz Award as the best collegiate rugby player in the U.S.
Payton also was named to the USA Islanders 2020 squad and played for Life West in the USA Rugby Club Sevens Nationals in 2021.
Payton also earned a Master’s Degree from St Mary’s, then played at Trinity College in Dublin and for the Austin Blacks.