Rugby

England's Ben Te'o Speaks About How Close He Came To Playing For Ireland

England's Ben Te'o Speaks About How Close He Came To Playing For Ireland

Ben Te'o, a New Zealand born former Samoan rugby league international who now represents England in rugby union, confirmed that he came rather close to pulling on the green of Ireland.

Te'o joined Leinster from the Russell Crowe led outfit, the South Sydney Rabbitohs who won the NRL Premiership during Te'o's time with the team.

After bouncing back from an arm-break in his first match for Leinster, Te'o found form during Leinster's difficult 2015-16 season. Another year of hanging around Dublin would have seen him eligible for Irish duty.

However, Eddie Jones learned that his mother was English and was quick to tap him up. He told him to get himself off to the Premiership to give himself a shot.

Indeed, Te'o only had to signal his attention to head to the Premiership to earn selection for the England team. He hadn't yet played for the Worcester Warriors when he was first selected by Jones for the summer tour in Australia.

I had some questions myself, such as if I had stayed in union as a kid would I have made it? Would I have been a good player? I needed to answer those questions myself.

The opportunity to play union took me to Ireland, that’s where I played, and then a chat with Eddie.

A chat about if I got myself over to the Premiership I would have an opportunity if I played well to put myself in the system and that’s how it came along. I obviously knew being eligible and having a passport, it was just the way that it went!

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Here were his reflections on switching his allegience to England before he became eligible for Ireland. A year is a long time in rugby.

I just thought a year is a long time. You don’t know what’s around the corner in terms of what the Irish coaches are thinking. They might go the other way. I just think when you see an opportunity and it feels right just take it and go with it.

[Irish Examiner]

Read more: 10 Irish Sportsmen With Legitimately Fascinating Careers Outside Of Sport

Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney

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