Queensland Reds move for former Maroons star

The Reds have identified a former Broncos and Maroons star - who then forged a career in English rugby - as the man to replace superstar Samu Kerevi at the club. 

Te'o has devoted himself to his new life in rugby since 2014 and his 20-Test career for England will hit a crescendo with selection for this year's World Cup in Japan.

It is his plans post-World Cup which have spiked interest from the Reds and coach Brad Thorn, who shares pedigree with Te'o as a former Brisbane Broncos rugby league forward.

Te'o, 32, has finished up with English club Worcester and is courting new clubs for 2020 when it's believed he is happy to call time on his Test ambitions.

English and Japanese clubs have expressed interest in the game-changing big man, who brings strong running and deft off-loading to his play as a rugby inside centre.

That No.12 jersey is a void at the Reds with top ground-gainer Kerevi opting to take up a three-year deal with Japanese club Suntory.

It's believed the Reds have sounded out Te'o's management and also begun formative discussions about the availability of former Wallaby James O'Connor at English club Sale.

Finding a replacement for Kerevi has become top priority at the Reds because the club has gone cold on re-signing Kiwi flyhalf Matt McGahan after weeks of hints they would.

 

Ben Te’o in action for the Maroons in 2013.
Ben Te’o in action for the Maroons in 2013.

 

It's a curious call after all the positive words from the Reds coaching staff that McGahan's communication and organisation was just what the backline needed in the final five games.

It points to the Reds trying to find the cash for a big play at a star like Te'o.

The gut feeling is that the cash in Japan will be too big for the Reds to match on Te'o, who has been linked to a potential Super Rugby deal for the Sunwolves' final season.

It will help the Reds' cause that the club has another $200,000-plus available without even trying.

That's because irked fans will no longer have to stomach the Queensland Rugby Union paying that money for Quade Cooper, Karmichael Hunt and James Slipper to play against the Reds.

To expedite moving on the trio this year while still under contract, the QRU copped paying a slice of their deals this season.

Te'o has close links to Queensland and there is the appeal of re-settling in the state where he went to school, after arriving from New Zealand in his teens.

He played 75 of his 152 games in the NRL with the Broncos, won a 2014 premiership with the Rabbitohs, played seven Origin games and featured in England's 2017 Six Nations win under coach Eddie Jones.



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