Ex-Maroons star Ben Te’o named in Lions squad

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    Former Queensland State of Origin forward Ben Te’o has completed a remarkable transition to rugby union by being named in the British and Irish Lions squad to tour New Zealand.

    The 30-year-old, who was part of the South Sydney side that won the 2014 NRL premiership, debuted for England in last year’s tour of Australia having qualified for his adopted country via his English-born mother.

    His impressive performances during the recent Six Nations tournament have earned him a place in Warren Gatland’s 41-man squad against the land of his birth.

    The selection caps off a circuitous career for Te’o, who moved to the Gold Coast from Auckland as a teenager after playing for the Junior Kiwis side.

    In 2007 he made his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers and was capped by Samoa 12 months later before returning to south-east Queensland with the Brisbane Broncos.

    His move to Suncorp Stadium led to selection for Queensland in game three of the 2012 Origin campaign and he came off the bench five more times for Mal Meninga’s side in the next two series.

    Te’o then enjoyed a successful two-year stint with Souths, where he helped the Rabbitohs end their long wait for a 21st premiership before announcing a move to rugby with Irish side Leinster before joining Worcester last year.

    He exited the Rabbitohs for the 15-man game with Sam Burgess who joined Bath in a high-profile move.

    His former housemate struggled and returned to Redfern after just a year having been made a scapegoat for England’s disastrous World Cup campaign on home soil.

    But Te’o has flourished to become the first ever Worcester Warriors player to be selected for the Lions.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (39)

    • April 19th 2017 @ 10:42pm
      Matt Jones said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:42pm | ! Report

      well done to the samoan, kiwi aussie

      • April 19th 2017 @ 10:59pm
        Neil Back said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:59pm | ! Report

        Could be considered more English than Samoan given his English Mum, he lives there and he’s played representative games eight times more for England than Samoa?

        Whatever, let’s just thank the lord he’s available so even Gatland couldn’t justify picking Jamie Roberts ….

        • Roar Rookie

          April 20th 2017 @ 7:22am
          Don said | April 20th 2017 @ 7:22am | ! Report

          Te’o aside Neil.
          I’d be interested to hear your opinion on the non selection of Dylan Hartley, Finn Russell and Jonny Gray.
          The Wales bias is expected though disappointing. I thought Scotland should have seen 4 players in at least with Gray and Russell.

          • April 20th 2017 @ 8:47am
            Neil Back said | April 20th 2017 @ 8:47am | ! Report

            To be honest Don, I think the exclusion of Hartley is the right one. His ref management aside, those picked offer more on the park for me and will likely stay on it longer.

            Finn Russell is unlucky but was never going to get picked by Gatland or Howley who prefer the conservative game management of someone like Biggar – who I think is very lucky to be going.

            Gray was competing for perhaps the toughest of Lions spots. To be honest I think Launchbury is the hardest done to here. Gatland seems fixated by AWJ as a leader of men and likes a bit of ‘dog’ in his players. Launchbury is probably too quietly efficient..

            Fact is, if called up through injuries, any of those mentioned could do a decent stint. I keep saying it though – I think the weakest Lions selections are Gatland and Howley. Can’t see those guys having enough invention to put the points on the board to beat an AB side.

            • Roar Rookie

              April 20th 2017 @ 10:04am
              Don said | April 20th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

              Thanks Neil.
              I appreciate the reply and it all makes good sense.
              I agree on Launchbury. Seems to be the universal consensus on him being desperately unlucky.

              • Roar Guru

                April 20th 2017 @ 10:09am
                Fionn said | April 20th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

                It’s not bad luck, it’s unfair and clear evidence of Gatland not selecting on form. He was the best lock in the 6N if not the best player in the 6N.

                If I was him Launchbury would be so disappointed and angry at Gatland.

              • April 20th 2017 @ 9:05pm
                ClarkeG said | April 20th 2017 @ 9:05pm | ! Report

                But selectors don’t necessarily select on form…recent form I mean.

                That would only be part of the equation.

            • April 20th 2017 @ 1:39pm
              Centreman said | April 20th 2017 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

              Finn Russell should be on the tour. He’s the only British 10 that has any chance of matching Beauden Barrett or Aaron Cruden’s skill level.

              • April 20th 2017 @ 9:02pm
                ClarkeG said | April 20th 2017 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

                If he was ever in contention then he had his name scratched after Twickenham …I imagine.

        • April 20th 2017 @ 9:00am
          taylorman said | April 20th 2017 @ 9:00am | ! Report

          …once an Aucklander, aways an Aucklander 🙂

        • April 20th 2017 @ 9:02am
          taylorman said | April 20th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

          His Mum might be English, but his rugby aint. NH rugby is inflated with selections like this. Pretty sure he’s not living in England because his Mum was born there.

          • April 20th 2017 @ 10:39am
            Neil Back said | April 20th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

            I wish I understood what ‘NH rugby’ actually meant about as much as I wish I understood what ‘SH rugby’ is supposed to mean. I just don’t know how to enter Spiro’s time warp and join the rest of you.

            • Roar Guru

              April 20th 2017 @ 10:46am
              taylorman said | April 20th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

              Simple really. SH rugby is where SHers play and coach.
              NH rugby is where NH and SHers play and coach.
              Youll get the hang of it after a while.

              • April 20th 2017 @ 1:04pm
                Neil Back said | April 20th 2017 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

                And there’s me thinking it meant so much more than that to so, so many.

                Silly me.

              • April 21st 2017 @ 10:55am
                robert said | April 21st 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

                more kiwis than scottish players picked lol

    • April 19th 2017 @ 10:54pm
      Worlds Biggest said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:54pm | ! Report

      Fantastic achievement Ben T’eo, if you ask any Northern Hemisphere player they will nominate the Lions Tour as a career highlight. Should be a great tour.

    • Roar Pro

      April 20th 2017 @ 12:39am
      Colm said | April 20th 2017 @ 12:39am | ! Report

      As always with the lions, if you are close with the coaches, you are likely to go.

      John Ryan has been the best tighthead in the champions cup this season and has plenty of experience playing loosehead.
      Irrelevant!!!!! A guy that has never even started a champions cup game – not to mind an international game – is picked ahead of him.

      Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies, Dan Biggar and Ross Moriarty are all pretty lucky to get selected.

      • April 20th 2017 @ 12:54am
        Colin N said | April 20th 2017 @ 12:54am | ! Report

        “As always with the lions, if you are close with the coaches, you are likely to go.”

        And there’s me thinking Andy Farrell is part of the Lions coaching staff.

        • Roar Pro

          April 20th 2017 @ 2:04am
          Colm said | April 20th 2017 @ 2:04am | ! Report

          There’s a good chance that was the reason Payne was picked, for the trust Farell has in his defence. Sinkler and Marler are coached by Rowntree at Harlequins, so that also makes sense.

      • April 20th 2017 @ 12:58am
        John said | April 20th 2017 @ 12:58am | ! Report

        He doesn’t even start for Ireland but you want to pick him for the Lions tour? Says it all don’t you think?

        • Roar Pro

          April 20th 2017 @ 2:00am
          Colm said | April 20th 2017 @ 2:00am | ! Report

          The guy picked ahead of John Ryan doesn’t start for England and is yet to start a champions cup game. Statistically, England had the fourth best scrum in the six nations winning 90.63% of their own ball.

          Statistically, Ireland had the best scrum in the six nations. Ireland won 100% of their own scrums[31 out of 31]. Tadhg Furlong is arguably the best tighthead in world rugby, so no harm being second to him.

          John Ryan won man of the match against Tolouse two weeks ago. That was against one of the strongest scrums in Europe. I don’t think Sinckler would have had the same success against Cyril Baille.

    • April 20th 2017 @ 1:14am
      James said | April 20th 2017 @ 1:14am | ! Report

      Congrats to Teo but is NH rugby that desperate? They tried it with Burgess and that failed. Teo has yet to play against any SH opposition especially against fast pace teams such as the ABs and its super rugby franchises so they could regret this selection.

      • April 20th 2017 @ 9:04am
        taylorman said | April 20th 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

        He looks ok, a good straight runner with an NRL background should be ok in NZ

        Same applies to Itoje, not having met the AB’s yet.

        • April 20th 2017 @ 9:12pm
          ClarkeG said | April 20th 2017 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

          And he has a dangerous habit of leading with his forearm into contact when carrying.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 20th 2017 @ 11:06am
        Dave_S said | April 20th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        What’s Burgess got to do with Teo? Yeah they both came from league but that’s about it, they were sufficiently different players in style in that code. Burgess was perhaps a long shot to transition to rugby centres but Teo played wider and, like a lot of league running backrowers, often played what was effectively in the centres in league, and was always a candidate to transition to rugby centres.

        • April 20th 2017 @ 11:47am
          Jacko said | April 20th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

          Not to mention he played junior rugby in NZ as a youngster

      • April 20th 2017 @ 5:23pm
        Perthstayer said | April 20th 2017 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

        James – They also tried it with Jason Robinson

        • Roar Rookie

          April 20th 2017 @ 8:44pm
          Dave_S said | April 20th 2017 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

          And SBW has been spectacularly unsuccessful, albeit for one of those lesser rugby nations.

          • April 21st 2017 @ 10:58am
            robert said | April 21st 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

            2015 world cup final……..lesser nations?

    • April 20th 2017 @ 5:32am
      FunBus said | April 20th 2017 @ 5:32am | ! Report

      Sinclair’s been picked because of his dynamism off the bench. I think McGrath and Furlong will be the starting props with Vunipola and Sinclair off the bench. Given that the ABs normally blow teams away in the last 20 I can see precisely why Gatland wants those 4 props.

    • April 20th 2017 @ 9:11am
      Rugnut said | April 20th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      The Lions will lose all tests and win only one minor game.

      • April 20th 2017 @ 9:22pm
        Bob said | April 20th 2017 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

        Nah bro the lionz ull wun 10-0

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