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Chat with Folau led to code switch: Te'o

Press AssociationPress Association 16/11/2016 Duncan Bech

Ben Te'o has revealed it was a conversation with former flatmate and Wallabies star Israel Folau that gave him the belief to cross codes and pursue an international career with England.

Former NRL player Te'o made his Test debut off the bench in Saturday's 37-21 victory over South Africa and is poised to win a second cap when Fiji visit Twickenham this weekend in the second of four autumn internationals.

Born in Auckland but moving to Australia when he was 17, he grew up playing both codes of rugby but it was league that claimed his allegiance and he went on to make eight State of Origin appearances for Queensland.

Folau had already made the transition when the two shared a house together for five months in Sydney and it was the Wallabies fullback who ultimately convinced his former Brisbane Broncos team-mate to switch codes.

"I was living with Israel Folau at the time, we were living in Kensington. I was at Souths and he was at Waratahs," Te'o said.

"I was feeling a little bit stale and asking myself some questions and I bounced it off him a little bit.

"I said 'I'm 27, do you think it's too late?'. He said 'No, no it's not too late'. I asked if he thought that I would be alright or is it too hard? He said 'No I think that you can do it'. He's someone that gave me a lot of confidence to give it a go."

Te'o's first union club was Leinster, and Ireland were hoping to eventually secure his services on residency grounds before Eddie Jones persuaded him to opt for England, an act made possible through his mother's heritage.

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