Worcester Warriors centre Ben Te’o admitted his British & Irish Lions selection came as a ‘bit of a surprise’ after he was picked in the 41-man squad for this summer’s tour of New Zealand.
Te’o, who made his England debut in November before helping them to the RBS 6 Nations title in March, insisted he was focused on their summer tour to Argentina before speculation linking him with a place in the Lions squad appeared in the media.
He explained: “I’d been putting in a lot of work with England. We’d had chats about the Argentina tour and I was quite focused towards that and that’s what I was expecting. I didn’t really expect this.
“It’s a bit of a surprise and it wasn’t till a couple of days ago that people were sending me links to articles and I was just trying not to get excited about it.
“Everything’s been ramped up in the last day or so and it’s made me quite nervous but I’m glad it’s now been decided.”
Te’o switched codes from Rugby League back in 2014 and revealed that his selection for the Lions justifies his decision to have made the move to Rugby Union.
He said: “As a Rugby League player my dream was to win a competition and to play State of Origin. To be picked in the Queensland State of Origin team at the time was unbelievable. And I just got that same feeling again.
“Two weeks ago I wasn’t really thinking about it as I wasn’t expecting to make it but in the last two days I’ve been really nervous thinking ‘what if I am?’.
“It just feels awesome and makes me feel like the path that I’ve chosen to take is why I’m here now.”
The powerful England star also revealed that he found out about his selection just like everybody else.
He continued: “I found out at midday like everyone else. I was just in a team meeting going over our last game against Bath and at the end they switched over to the live stream of the announcement and I found out there alongside my teammates.
“It was a nice moment. They gave me a good celebration and then it was straight out onto the park to train.”
Te’o becomes the first Warrior to be picked for the British and Irish Lions while playing his rugby at Sixways.
And he added: “It’s a special thing for the Club. With me coming over here, I’ve had the chance to play for England and now this.
“What’s best about it for me is to be in that room alongside a group of guys with loads of Academy youngsters, and the enjoyment they got from me getting into the squad. You hope that it is contagious.
“There are guys here who can play for England and who could go on the next tour. For them to have someone in the room that’s just made it is a big thing and helps them believe and it’s great in that perspective.”