Tuesday 20 February 2018

Leinster in pole position to sign Samoan rugby league star Te'o

Ben Te'o - who currently plays rugby league in Australia with the South Sydney Rabbitohs - is in line for a switch to Pro12 champions Leinster. Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images
Ben Te'o - who currently plays rugby league in Australia with the South Sydney Rabbitohs - is in line for a switch to Pro12 champions Leinster. Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Rugby league star Ben Te'o could be on his way to Leinster as Matt O'Connor seeks to bolster his centre options ahead of the new season.

The Irish Independent understands that the New Zealand-born 27-year-old, who plies his trade with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and represented Samoa at international level, spent time in Dublin in recent weeks with a view to completing a move at the end of the season.

Te'o, who represented Queensland in the prestigious State of Origin clashes this season, is out of contract at the end of the current campaign and has stated his desire to leave.

His name was linked with the Pro12 champions in reports in the Australian media last month, while a number of French clubs were also believed to be interested in his signature.

O'Connor, a former Wallaby centre who has played both codes during his playing career, is believed to be a big fan of the hard-running, 6ft 2in, 16 and a half stone Aucklander who grew up playing union in his native country.

O'Driscoll's retirement has left Leinster with a sizeable void in the outside centre channel and Casey Laulala's departure from Munster allows the province to bring in a non-Irish qualified option under the IRFU's rules.

Fergus McFadden wore the famous No 13 jersey during Ireland's summer tour of Argentina, while Luke Fitzgerald is an option if he can overcome his recurring injury problems and Brendan Macken was the former Ireland captain's provincial back-up last season.

No stranger to controversy, Te'o was yesterday cited for a dangerous tackle during his side's win over Canberra.

That victory keeps the Rabbitohs, who are owned by Hollywood star Russell Crowe, in the hunt for the play-off spots, meaning their season could run until October's Grand Final, so Te'o's code-switch would have to wait.

Irish Independent

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