Rugby

Friends reunited as Te'o faces Folau at Twickenham

2018-11-23 17:35
Israel Folau (Getty)

Twickenham - Ben Te'o has credited Israel Folau with convincing him to change codes ahead of facing his old friend at Twickenham on Saturday.

Te'o will start at inside centre when England go in search of a sixth successive won over Australia, for whom Folau will be playing at fullback.

The former housemates played rugby league together for the Brisbane Broncos before Folau, who has appeared in three different codes of football, move to union after a stint in Australian rules.

"We used to live together when we were coming through," Te'o told reporters at Twickenham on Friday. "He's played three codes. He's one of the top fullbacks in the world in rugby union and I'm just trying to follow his lead.

"I probably never imagined that I'd play Test rugby against an old room-mate but it's funny how these things happen."

Te'o, returning to the England side in place of the dropped Alex Lozowski, added: "Israel was one of the guys, when I made the change from rugby league, that I had a deep conversation with about whether I could make it or not. He backed me and said 'give it a go mate'. Now I'm here.

"I wanted to know if I was going to be good enough. When we do something we all want to do our best and we want to be successful.

"So I wanted to know if he thought I'd have the tools to be successful and whether they transferred to rugby union.

"He said they would, so I gave it a go," the Worcester midfielder added.

Te'o, by then playing for the South Sydney Rabbitohs league side, recalled his time living with Folau in Sydney by saying: "In those days Israel was still quite early in his (union) career.

"He was fun to live with. We had some good times. But one thing about Israel is that he's very driven in his career and he always wants to play well. That's something I took away from him."

Folau, whose Christian beliefs have led him into controversy regarding his attitude towards homosexuals, has won 72 caps since making his Wallaby debut against the British and Irish Lions in 2013.

He is now an established counter-attacking force in rugby union and Te'o said: "I played with Israel a lot and played against him a lot. He's a class player.

"We have to keep him quiet, not kick the ball straight down to him and let him gallop back."

Teams:

England

15 Elliot Daly, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (co-captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ben Moon

Substitutes: 16 Dylan Hartley (co-captain), 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 George Ford, 23 Manu Tuilagi

Wallabies

15 Israel Folau,14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Bernard Foley, 11 Jack Maddocks, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Will Genia, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Jermaine Ainsley, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Ned Hanigan, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Sefa Naivalu, 23 Marika Koroibete

Read more on:    england  |  wallabies  |  israel folau  |  rugby

 

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