England centre Ben Te’o has revealed a conversation with housemate Israel Folau in Sydney convinced him to change codes and try to become a rugby union success.
Te’o has gone on to become an England and British and Irish Lions centre and one of his main tasks tomorrow at Twickenham will be helping shut down the threat Folau will pose in an Australian jersey in the final test of the November campaign.
The pair shared a house in the Kensington suburb of Sydney and it proved to be a key moment in the Worcester Warriors centre’s career and he quit league in 2014 to join Leinster and then moved to England to launch his test career.
Te’o said: “I played with Izzy a lot and against him and he is a class player. We have to keep him quiet, not kick the ball straight down to him and let him gallop back. I haven’t spoken to him yet but will catch up after the game and we used to live together.
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“We were both coming through and I am really happy with the progression he made having played three different codes and he is one of the top full backs in the world and I am just trying to follow his lead. I never imagined I would play Test rugby against an old room mate and its funny how things work out. Izzy was one of the guys when I was going to make the change from league I went to and had a deep conversation and asked for his honest opinion if he thought I could make it and he backed me and said “give it a go mate”.
“My main concern about switching from league was if I was going to be good enough. I wanted to know if Izzy thought I had the tools and if they could transfer into rugby union and he said I would so I gave it a go.
“He was a good housemate and it was early in his union career and he is a hard worker. He always puts into his preparation and we shared the differences about the games and he is very driven in his career and that is something I took away.”
Te’o, the former South Sydney Rabbitohs star, was hoping to catch up with good mate Kurtley Beale but he failed to make the Wallaby 23 for the game with England. “Kurtley is very good friend of mine and I was surprised that he didn’t make the squad. I was looking forward to having a game against him and he is a world class player” added Te’o.
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