Te'o is Test ready: Jones

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

England coach Eddie Jones is confident NRL convert Ben Te’o is ready for Test football.

While Jones said the former South Sydney and Broncos player, who has played two seasons for Leinster, would need to prove himself in training, he had all the foundations of a successful centre.

As Wallabies coach from 2001-20015, Jones oversaw the transition of a number of NRL players into rugby and said Te’o had both the skills and big-game experience to make it.

“Having coached a lot of rugby league guys and knowing if you can play State of origin successfully you can be successful in test rugby, he’s got the pedigree to be successful,” he said.

“Secondly, he’s got a skillset that’s very suited to playing 12 in international rugby.

“He can take the ball through the line, he can pass before the line, he’s a very good and strong, robust defender.”

Te’o only recently became eligible to play for England, having signed a deal with Premiership side Worcester for the upcoming season.

While the backline battle will be one to watch, it’s the forwards and set piece performance that could be the ultimate deciding factor in the June Test series.

The scrum and lineout were two areas where Australia dominated England in their 33-13 World Cup pool victory last season, but the English locks are certainly intimidating.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has already pointed out hulking lock Maro Itoje, the European player of the year, as a major threat and Jones said they would be looking to exploit that advantage.

“I think England’s always had good locks and we’ve got four absolutely quality locks,” he said.

“Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury - four years ago they were touted as the next Martin Johnsons.

“We had two guys come through last season with exceptional skill sets, exceptional attitudes so we've got four quality locks and the lineout’s such an important part of the game.

“So, that’s a potential area where we’ve got an advantage.”

England has nine days to ready itself for the opening Test and Jones said the side would try and acclimatise before beginning full-on training at their Sanctuary Cove base.


“The big challenge is just to get our focus right, make sure we physically recover.

“So we'll use the first three days to physically recover, then we’ll get some good quality training.”