As rugby fans mull over the recent All Blacks and Lions test, Hibiscus Coast Raiders supporters from the early 2000s may recognise a familiar name – Ben Te’o.
Ben played inside centre for the Lions in the first test, was on the bench for the second test and reappeared in the third. In the first test he made a number of strong runs and kept Sonny Bill Williams under control with some strong tackling.
Ben was a Hibiscus Coast Raiders junior before leaving for Australia at the age of 17. In the NRL he played for the West Tigers, Brisbane Broncos and the South Sydney Rabbitohs. He also represented Samoa and played for Queensland in State of Origin.
After the South Sydney Rabbitohs won the NRL Premiership in 2014, he signed to play rugby union with Leinster in Ireland, then with the Worcester Warriors. From there he was selected to play for England in the 2016 tour of Australia.
This year, after England won the Six Nations Tournament, Ben capped it off with selection in the British and Irish Lions.
League and rugby fan Cr John Watson has followed Ben’s career closely and says he doubts whether there’s been a player in the history of the game who has represented more countries and teams at such a high level in both codes.
“In Ben’s case his extraordinary versatility is exemplified by the fact that in league he was a hard running second row forward whereas in rugby he’s been an accomplished inside back,” Cr Watson says. “It’s been some journey since his Stanmore Bay days – a phenomenal sequence of achievements in every corner of the globe.”