Online Editions

3rd Dec, 2021

Te'o: I never thought I was in the realm of Lions call-up

Aaron Wise 26th Apr, 2017

WARRIORS centre Ben Te’o admitted he was ‘shocked and surprised’ at being selected for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand this summer.

The 30-year-old, who is the first-ever player to represent both the Lions and Worcester at the same time, was picked by Warren Gatland to be a part of the 41-man squad last week, after impressing in the Autumn Internationals and RBS 6 Nations with England.

The former rugby league player insists it has been a long journey since his cross-code switch in 2014, but being selected to tour at the highest level of rugby union has made him grateful he chose to switch paths.

“Obviously I’m very excited. Some people may say my rise through rugby union has been quick, but for me it’s been a long process,” said Te’o.

“It’s my third year of rugby union in the Northern Hemisphere and there’s been a lot of hard work. I remember my first game in the British and Irish Cup with Leinster. I’ve started at grassroots and worked my way up.

“As a rugby league player the dream was to win a competition, so when I was selected in the Queensland State of Origin team it was unbelievable. I’ve now got that same feeling again.

“Two weeks ago I wasn’t even thinking about the tour because I didn’t think I was in the realm of making the squad, so to be picked just makes me feel the path I chose to take in union was the right decision.

“I didn’t find out I was selected for the squad until it was announced. We (Warriors players) watched the live stream and I was quite nervous, but they all gave me a good celebration.

“The All Blacks are the number one team in the world for a reason. It’s going to be a very physical test series down there,” he added.

The Auckland-born centre believes his international experience will benefit Warriors and is focused on seeing out the club’s campaign on a high.

“Whenever you go away with a group of world class players and coaches and train in an environment that’s intense and competitive, you’re going to get better as a player. I’m learning something new all the time,” he added.

“I’ve got to play well over the next two games for Warriors to set me up for the England training camp. Now is not a time to celebrate, as we have a really big game against Newcastle coming up. My focus in on ending the season strongly with Worcester.”

The British and Irish Lions will tour New Zealand from Saturday, June 3 to Saturday, July 8.

Buy Photos

Buy photos online from the Worcester Observer newspaper.

Digital Advertising

Advertise on the Worcester Observer to boost your online presence.

Book an Advert

Book your newspaper advert with our online advert creation tool.

Reader Travel

Check out all of the latest reader travel offers to get your hands on some free gifts.