Leinster sign centre Ben Te'o
Published 12/08/2014 | 08:22
Leinster have signed rugby league centre Ben Te’o from the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The 27-year-old Samoan international, who has played rugby union in the past, will join up with the Leinster squad once the Rabbitohs’ season ends.
Speaking to leinsterrugby.ie, he said: "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. 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.”
Leinster Coach Matt O'Connor admitted he has been a long-time admirer of Te’o.
"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,” said O’Connor.
“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."
O'Connor is not concerned about Te'o's lack of experience in rugby union.
"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," said O'Connor.
"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 Rugby."