Worcester head coach Alan Solomons has defended the decision not to start Ben Te’o against Northampton Saints last night.
England centre Te’o was allowed to return to New Zealand despite making just one replacement appearance for Worcester Warriors this season. He sat out their back-to-back European Challenge Cup matches with Pau, but surprisingly, again wasn’t involved in Warriors home defeat to Northampton Saints last night, despite being on the ground in the UK.
Dan Biggar booted 20 points as Northampton Saints eased to a 32-6 victory at Worcester Warriors to go sixth in the Premiership.
However eyebrows were raised when star Worcester signing Te’o was spotted on the sidelines. Solomons explained the decision not to use the powerhouse centre on BT.
Ben Te'o misses out for Worcester tonight and their boss Alan Solomons explains why… pic.twitter.com/G25EvbCoTW
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) December 21, 2018
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.
In December Solomons told RugbyPass: “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.”
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