No regrets for Cullen as he urges Te'o to finish on a high
Published 19/04/2016 | 02:30
Leo Cullen did his best to keep the focus on what little time Ben Te'o has left with Leinster but the prospect of the centre lining out for England (through his English-born mother) as early as June's tour of Australia is looming large.
In the two years that he's been with Leinster, Te'o has become an important player for Cullen and although Robbie Henshaw's arrival will soften the blow of the New Zealander's move to Worcester Warriors, there must surely be a tinge of regret from the club that has developed him.
Te'o joined Leinster following a seven-year career in rugby league, during which time he played at the World Cup for Samoa, and after finding his feet in the new code, his rate of progression means that Eddie Jones is getting an exciting prospect.
"I try not to deal in the disappointments," Cullen said. "We've got the end of the season to worry about and hopefully Ben will be here with us. He's been a really big contributor.
"You saw a lot of really good attacking lines and some really positive carries. You saw it in the Aviva (against Munster) with some of his defensive work, particularly at the end of the game when he comes up with three massive involvements in the last sequence of play.
"We talked about some of the frustrations with him arriving. We wouldn't have expected the Rabbitohs to go all the way to the (NFL) grand final, which they did.
"And then post that he breaks his arm pretty early in his career here. Again, that stunts his development. But he's a smart footballer, Ben. He works very hard and he's getting better week on week.
"We're just trying to focus on him delivering positive involvements for the remainder of the season. Who knows what's going to happen next year? That's a long, long way away."