England centre Ben Te’o has been allowed to return to New Zealand despite making just one replacement appearance for Worcester Warriors this season and he will sit out their back-to-back European Challenge Cup matches with Pau.
Alan Solomons, the Worcester director of rugby, has defended the decision to give Te’o time with his family in Auckland before Christmas as the player will be involved with Premiership fixtures over the festive period, starting with Northampton at home on December 21. The 31-year-old’s only appearance for Worcester so far this season came off the bench against Ospreys in October.
Te’o, who signed a deal worth an estimated £350,000 a year to join Worcester, has played just 25 matches for the club since arriving in 2016 and has been hampered by a series of injuries since playing for the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand in 2017. England coach Eddie Jones rushed Te’o back into the problem mid-field area for the November tests which saw Te’o add three more caps taking his total to 16 plus two Lions tests appearances since moving to the Premiership from Leinster.
“I have sorted out the rest time with Eddie so he has a break now and he will be back in time for the block of three Premiership games.” Solomons told the Worcester News. “Ben has gone home to Auckland to see his family.
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“He will not have an opportunity to see them over Christmas because he is going to be here with us over that period. Ben hadn’t had much rugby leading into the Test matches. He had the 30 minutes with us against Ospreys and then he played in three massive Tests so both mentally and physically I thought a break at that stage was appropriate.”
Te’o has been unable to steer clear of injuries since arriving at Sixways having undergone a quadriceps operation in the summer and then picked up a calf injury.
“There is nothing much he could do,” added Solomons. “He has been injured a lot. The same thing happened last season. It was not his fault he was injured. He came back for the Six Nations and then he played a couple of games for us at the back end of the campaign.
“He got injured so he wasn’t available to play rugby until just before the autumn internationals. He has played three big games (for England) so under EPS ruling he has got to have a break somewhere. I would rather that he had the break over this (Gloucester) game and the European games and is back in time for consideration for the Premiership matches.”
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