Te'o ready to feel the pain against Bastareaud

by AFP

Ben Te'o is ready for a painful afternoon's work when he confronts powerhouse France centre Mathieu Bastareaud during England's Six Nations clash in Paris on Saturday.

Rugby League convert Te'o, anything but a lightweight midfielder himself, has been recalled by Eddie Jones in place of Jonathan Joseph specifically to counter the threat posed by Bastareaud in a match where champions England will hope to record a bonus-point win and so reignite their title bid after a shock loss to Scotland.

Te'o and opposing outside centre Bastareaud weigh in at a combined 235kg, with England coach Jones confident his man will enjoy "getting an early shot on him".

"I'm a big guy but I'm up against a bigger guy! You don't see many midfielders of his size running around," Te'o told reporters at England's training base in Bagshot before the squad left for Paris.

"Credit to him, he's an athlete as well. He's big but he can move. He's strong and has an offload. I watched him the other weekend against Italy and he was very destructive."

Teo added: "I've come up against him before and I want another crack at him. I'm up for it. The only way to stop him is by fronting up physically. We'll have a job on our hands to stop him."

England will be looking to bounce back after a 25-13 defeat by the Scots, with France aiming to build on a 34-17 win over Italy in which Bastareaud was an influential figure. 

"Bastareaud is a bit of an icon player for them. He's been built up as the guy who's going to regenerate French rugby," said England coach Jones.

"So it's important that, early in the game, we let him know he's going to be a tough day in the office," the Australian added.