Leinster centre Noel Reid insists he is not surprised at former team-mate Ben Te’o’s rapid progression with England since his move across the Irish Sea.
New Zealand native Te’o spent the guts of two years at the RDS after converting from rugby league.
The Kiwi would have been eligible to play for Ireland had he stayed another year with Leinster, but while Te’o admitted that he considered committing his future to Ireland, he instead opted to move to Worcester last summer and opted to play for England, qualifying through his London-born mother.
The 30-year-old talent has made quite an impact for Eddie Jones’ side since making his Test debut against South Africa last November, bagging a match-winning try as a replacement against France the week before last — and in the process, recording the quickest try scored by a Six Nations debutant — while he also helped to inspire England’s late comeback against Wales last weekend.
“I’m not that surprised no,” said Leinster’s Reid on his former housemate’s integral involvement with his adopted team. “I suppose he’s the type of player they don’t really have at the moment. I know Manu [Tuilagi] has been injured for a while. It’s a good option for them,” added Reid, who does not consider Te’o to be ‘lucky’ in terms of his recent opportunities.
“I wouldn’t say it’s luck,” he said. “He played really well for us [Leinster]… then I think any time he has played for Worcester he has done really well so I wouldn’t say it’s luck, no.” While Reid joked that “I don’t wish him that well” when it was put to him that his former housemate could yet have a similarly influential impact in England’s Six Nations visit to Dublin on St Patrick’s weekend, the 26-year-old Leinster centre admitted he learned from the rugby league convert during his time with the Blues.
“I think one of the things I picked up was how professional he was,” said the Dubliner. “I was living with him for a while and he was very professional.
“After games he would be up most of the night icing and stuff like that so it was a different side from the one everyone would see. He was always fit, he played pretty much every game for us so that was probably down to that,” added Reid, who noted that Te’o tends to speak his mind.
The 30-year-old Kiwi raised eyebrows recently with a stinging criticism of a lack of leadership at Worcester, who are second from bottom in the Aviva Premiership.
“Yeah he says what he feels, I suppose,” said Reid. “I think it’s a different transition for him. He’s used to playing in teams before which were competing for titles all of the time.
“He’s a clubman, he’ll train, he’ll work hard. If anything, I’d say it will help the club,” added Reid, himself a quintessential clubman in his sixth senior season with Leinster.
While the province’s frontline stars are unavailable during the Six Nations, the 26-year-old is one of the busy guiding Leinster through Pro12 action, but Reid claims he does not throw his weight around despite his experience.
“I try not to change too much throughout the weeks,” said Reid ahead of Friday’s clash with Edinburgh at the RDS. “If something needed to be said or done in training, I’m comfortable in saying it. I think more just leading by actions is the main thing for me in this period.”
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