The gears of the rugby machine have already begun to turn once more ahead of the new season but for British and Irish Lion Ben Te’o, the engine remains idle.
The Worcester Warriors centre featured strongly throughout the Lions’ six-week tour of New Zealand this summer and returned home with five Lions appearances to his name, including two Test caps against the All Blacks.
Now, with the Warriors back in pre-season training, director of rugby Gary Gold has revealed that the ‘outstanding’ Te’o is not among the squad.
Speaking to Worcester News, Gold reveals the 30-year-old has been given extra time off before returning to action.
“We are going to give him another two weeks off.
“I don’t think fitness is going to be too much of an issue with Ben, but I can only imagine what that tour must have taken out of him. It must have been mentally draining.
“He is away with his family at the moment and he gets back to the UK this week, but then he has got another week off as I think he is going to Europe for a holiday.”
Extending the long season into mid-July is surely a mentally and physically taxing endeavour and affording Te’o additional downtime certainly sounds like a smart move ahead of what is going to be another long Premiership campaign.
With his arrival from Leinster last term and his four tries from twelve outings, Gold will certainly want his Lion to return in top condition ahead of the start of the new campaign.
“For us, it is really important that he does get away and has a break because we want him to come back hungry.
“But he will definitely be back for the start of the season.”
The Warriors kick-off their new season away to the Newcastle Falcons on September 1.
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