Monday 27 January 2020

O'Connor delighted as Leinster sign 'explosive' Te'o

Ben Te'o of the Rabbitohs has signed for Leinster on a two-year deal. Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images
Ben Te'o of the Rabbitohs has signed for Leinster on a two-year deal. Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster have confirmed the signing of Ben Te'o from Australian rugby league side the South Sydney Rabbitohs on a two-year contract.

The New Zealand-born 27-year-old, who represented Samoa at the 2008 rugby league World Cup, will link up with the Pro12 champions after the NRL season, which could run until as late as October.

Matt O'Connor is keen to fill the void left by Brian O'Driscoll at outside-centre and despite the fact that Te'o currently plays in the second-row for the Rabbitohs, O'Connor confirmed that he will be used in midfield by Leinster.

At 6ft 2in, Te'o weighs in at 105kg and will add considerable bulk to the Irish province's backline as well as providing them with a completely different option than any of their current centres offer.

"His presence will give us a different dynamic in the midfield. He has all the physical attributes to compete and deliver for Leinster," O'Connor said.

"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," the Australian coach added.

Commenting on the move, Te'o, who grew up playing union in New Zealand, said that joining the three-time European champions represented a positive move in his career.

"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."

Elsewhere, the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) board has announced that the inaugural 2015 European Rugby Champions Cup final will be played at Twickenham on May 2.

Last October Milan's San Siro had been named as the host venue for the 2015 Heineken Cup final but the new tournament organisers have now opted for Twickenham instead.

Had the final gone ahead in Milan, it would have been the first time that Italy had hosted a major European rugby final but as it is, the home of English rugby will hold its fifth European final.

The European Challenge Cup decider, which takes place on May 1, will also be held in London, with the Stoop - home of Harlequins -chosen as the venue.

Commenting on the decision, EPCR director and executive committee member Bruce Craig said: "In the inaugural season of the tournaments, the Board of EPCR took the view that fairest and the most commercially sound 
approach was to award the finals based on a competitive tender process.

"The RFU's bid was extremely strong and the fact that we are going to London for the 2015 finals is hugely positive for European club rugby."

Irish Independent

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