Guinness Pro12: Irish giants Leinster sign league star Ben Te'o
Last Updated: 12/08/14 8:56am
Ben Te'o wearing a Queensland shirt during training ahead of this year's State of Origin games
Leinster have signed Samoan rugby league player Ben Te'o from South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The 27-year-old, who has also played for Wests Tigers and Brisbane Broncos, represented Queensland in this year’s State of Origin games.
Born in New Zealand, he will make his 150th NRL appearance this week and will head to Ireland when the Rabbitohs end their season.
Te'o said: "This is a great step for me personally and is just the type of challenge that I was looking for at this stage in my career.
“Leinster is one of the leading lights of Northern Hemisphere rugby and the opportunity to return to union was also an opportunity too good to pass.
"It was a difficult decision to leave the Souths and league in general but I have taken my time over this decision and I believe that what Matt O'Connor and the coaching team have cultivated in Leinster is something special and I look forward to getting stuck in.”
Leinster coach Matt O'Connor added: "Ben is someone that we have taken an active interest in for some time now in particular as he made his intentions to change codes some time ago.
“I was home during the summer and met with him a number of times. He is keen and eager to make a lasting impression at Leinster and to develop into a world class rugby player.
"He has been a great professional in all of the clubs that he has played with and he has all the physical attributes to compete and deliver for Leinster.
“His presence will give us a different dynamic in the midfield. Once he arrives, we will have a player at our disposal for the whole season.”
Te’o has not played union for over seven years but O’Connor is not unduly worried: “There is no reason why the transition can't be a success.
“Both codes are littered with examples of players that have made the transition and I look forward to working directly with Ben when he arrives.”