Leinster sign Kiwi Rugby League star Te’o

Former Heineken Cup champions Leinster have announced that they have signed
rugby league player Ben Te’o from the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Twenty-seven-year-old Te’o has rugby union experience and has been signed to
give coach Matt O’Connor more options at centre.

Te’o, who has played with the West Tigers and the Brisbane Broncos in the
past and was selected in this year’s State of Origin three game series with
Queensland, will mark a significant career milestone this Thursday when he lines
out for his 150th National Rugby League (NRL) appearance against the Brisbane

Born in New Zealand, he made his senior international debut with Samoa in
the 2008 Rugby League World Cup against France scoring two tries.

“This is a great step for me personally and is just the type of challenge
that I was looking for at this stage in my career, said Te’o who will join Leinster
Rugby once his season with the Rabbitohs concludes

Leinster is one of the leading lights of Northern Hemisphere rugby and the
opportunity to return to union was also an opportunity too good to pass.

“It was a difficult decision to leave the Souths and league in general
but I have taken my time over this decision and I believe that what Matt O’Connor
and the coaching team have cultivated in Leinster is something special and I
look forward to getting stuck in.”

With the NRL season still to reach its conclusion, Te’o will not be joining
his new teammates until after his commitments with the Rabbitohs have been completed.

“There is a lot of footy still to be played in this season and I owe it
to Michael Maguire, his staff, and the rest of the players and of course the
South’ Members and fans to focus all of my attention on those games starting
this Thursday against the Broncos. There will be a time for farewells and thank
yous when all is said and done.”

Leinster Coach Matt O’Connor welcomed the signing and looked forward to his

“Ben is someone that we have taken an active interest in for some time
now in particular as he made his intentions to change codes some time ago. I
was home during the summer and met with him a number of times. He is keen and
eager to make a lasting impression at Leinster and to develop into a world class
rugby player.

“He has been a great professional in all of the clubs that he has played
with and he has all the physical attributes to compete and deliver for Leinster.
His presence will give us a different dynamic in the midfield. Once he arrives,
we will have a player at our disposal for the whole season to augment what is
already an exciting array of options for the year ahead.”

The lack of recent rugby union experience will not be too big an obstacle either
according to O’Connor.

“It is something that I dealt with myself as a player but with his professionalism,
his physicality and his skill set, there is no reason why the transition can’t
be a success. Both codes are littered with examples of players that have made
the transition and I look forward to working directly with Ben when he arrives.

“He is a dynamic and explosive ball carrier and that physicality will
enhance our offering both in attack and in our defence. I think the Leinster
supporters are going to like what they see. I know we in the Leinster coaching
team are looking forward to his arrival and the younger players will learn a
lot from him. He has the character and the application to be a success at Leinster

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