After signing a short-term agreement with French Top 14 team Toulon, Ben Te’o’s England career is officially over. The centre, who has earned 18 caps in his career, was left out of the World Cup squad of Eddie Jones’ last week, but in the case of accident will now be unfit for a call-up.
That comes after the Rugby Football Union has reiterated its foreign-based player selection policy. Te’o is known to have been engaged in an off-field altercation at the summer training camp in Italy in England, while English boss Jones has yet to confirm whether the incident that took place on a social team played any part in his World Cup squad omission.
Either way, Te’o’s absence from the 31-man group was notable, given the way Jones had consistently picked the former rugby league star in the past three years. The agreement between the 32-year-old and Toulon runs until November to provide cover for the World Cup players. After just 33 matches for the Sixways team over three years after his return from Leinster, he left Premiership club Worcester at the end of last season.
The lack of Te’o from the England squad raises the stress on Manu Tuilagi, the only ball-carrying centre available to Jones. At Twickenham on Saturday, Tuilagi, who has shaken off years of injury to feature in every game in England this year, is set to start against Ireland. The World Cup for Rugby will start in Japan next month.
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