Ben Te'o admits he came close to committing to Ireland

The former Leinster player made his England debut last weekend

BY Daniel Kelly 11:15 Thursday 17 November 2016, 11:15 17 Nov 2016

Ben Te'o. Picture by Adam Davy PA Wire/PA Images

Former Leinster star Ben Te'o made his debut for England last week, but he has revealed he came close to playing for Ireland.

The New Zealand-born rugby league convert cut his teeth in the 15-man code in Dublin, before moving to Worcester at the start of the summer. Having qualified for England, through his mother, Te'o took to the Twickenham field last week against South Africa.

A former Samoan rugby league international, Te'o moved to the northern hemisphere in 2014 to join Leinster, and would have qualified to play for Ireland through residency at the end of the season.

Once the move was confirmed to Worcester, where he joined the likes of Donncha O'Callaghan, Te'o was promoted into Eddie Jones' England squad at the first available opportunity.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, he admitted, wearing the green of Ireland had entered his mind.

"The opportunity to play union took me to Ireland, that’s where I played, and then a chat with Eddie."

"A chat about if I got myself over to the Premiership I would have an opportunity if I played well to put myself in the system and that’s how it came along. I obviously knew being eligible and having a passport, it was just the way that it went!"

England's squad for their game with Fiji has not yet been named, and the centre could make his second appearance this weekend. Ireland's loss could become England's gain.

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