Wednesday 24 January 2018

Te'o eyes Pro 12 prize

Kiwi-born centre targets silverware in bid to end his Leinster career on a high note

Ben Te’o wants to make the most of his last three months with Leinster Photo: Sportsfile
Ben Te’o wants to make the most of his last three months with Leinster Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Ben Te'o is determined to end his Leinster career on a high by helping Leo Cullen's side secure the Guinness Pro12 title.

The Kiwi-born centre will join Worcester Warriors next season but he has targeted league success as the ideal way to end his stint with the province before heading cross channel.

"I have three months left and I want to enjoy the times here with the group of guys I'm playing with, and obviously the aim is to leave with a trophy," said the 29-year-old. "That's pretty much where all my focus is."

Te'o could be partnered in midfield by exciting tyro Garry Ringrose for tomorrow's clash with the Ospreys in the RDS where Cullen's side will look to keep the pressure on league leaders Connacht.

"We'll be doing a fair bit of video on them this week," he said. "I have played against (Josh) Matavesi a couple of times and he's a strong ball carrier and he's very skilful too, he's got an offload and a pre-line passing game.

"Me and Garry, if we're in midfield we are going to have to sort out our stuff but we are pretty confident.

"We'll try not to focus too much on them and worry about what we are doing and keep getting better. We'll show them the respect and study the video."

Te'o went on to insist the Ringrose has the potential be something "special" after his rapid rise through the ranks.

"I'd use that word potential. I think he's got all the potential in the world to be something special," he said.

"With his mentality and the way he has been raised, he is level-headed and I can't see why he won't get there, but I wouldn't want to put too much pressure on him and things can change. But I think he's probably headed in the right direction."

And Te'o suggested that while he believes Ringrose would acquit himself well on the international stage now, it won't do him any harm if he is held in reserve.

"You need that ambition (to play international rugby) but you want to keep improving as a player and those things come," Te'o explained.

"Sometimes, for some guys you might have to wait a while - there might be guys in front of you and it might take time. . . but when you get there, it's about what you do when you get there.

"Whether he has to wait or gets thrown in I don't know but I'm sure he'll do a good job.

"There have been a lot of guys that you know who have played international rugby at a young age and didn't do much on that stage and never played again. You just have to make sure that when you get there you are ready."

The England-qualified Te'o also revealed that forcing his way into Eddie Jones' international picture isn't at the forefront of his mind.

"I want to finish the season here strong, then I'll head over to the Premiership and dedicate myself to the new club and work hard at trying to establish myself in the Premiership and that's all I've got to," he said.

"I'm not looking too far ahead. In terms of international it's not something I sit there thinking about a lot to be honest.

"If you play good club footy stuff like that can happen and if it doesn't happen I'm pretty happy with how my career has gone and is going. I don't need it to be satisfied and sleep well at night."

Irish Independent

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