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Te'o heading to France

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Ben Te'o heading to France as English rugby exit is confirmed

The future of Ben Te’o has been widely speculated over the past 12 months, with the consensus being that the 32-year-old would leave England following the World Cup.

The former Worcester Warriors centre was expected to be named among Eddie Jones’ 31-man squad, although a reported altercation with Mike Brown on a team bonding outing put pay to his chances.

Prior to this, Te’o was linked with moves to Japan, Australia and France, as well as a possible return to rugby league, the sport that he left in 2014 to join Irish side Leinster.

Although his long-term future is still up for debate, Top 14 side Toulon confirmed on Wednesday the signing of Te’o as a joker for the duration of the World Cup.

The hard-running centre will join up with the three-time champions of Europe until November, who themselves have recently lost Mathieu Bastareaud to Lyon and a stint in the MLR with Rugby United New York.

Te’o had been an important part of Jones’ England plans until earlier this month, although the return to fitness of Manu Tuilagi had seen Te’o fall out of the first XV mix.

Te’o’s role as Tuilagi’s deputy has seemingly been taken by Piers Francis, with the Northampton Saints midfielder starting at 12 in both of England’s World Cup warm-up games so far.

Big things were expected of Te’o at Worcester Warriors when he made the move from Leinster in 2016, but both injuries and international call-ups limited the impact he had at the west midlands club over the last three seasons.

With his deal at Toulon set to expire in November, a possible stint in the Japanese Top League, MLR or Super Rugby all remain possibilities. The centre turns 33 in January but he hasn’t played too much rugby over the last three years, which potentially leaves him with a few seasons still left in his legs should he want to continue to his club career.

Confirmation of the move to France ends all speculation over whether or not a late England recall might occur, with injury to one of Tuilagi or Francis seemingly all that could now resurrect Te’o’s international career.

WATCH: Jonny May and George Ford talk ahead of England’s World Cup warm-up match against Ireland

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Ben Te'o heading to France as English rugby exit is confirmed