<
>

Ben Te'o funded Australian rehab to be fit for England's Six Nations

play
O'Shea: How Mike Brown cost me ESPN Fantasy points (0:57)

ESPN's Tom Hamilton sat down with Italy head coach Conor O'Shea, who reveals a humorous anecdote about dropping his former Harlequins charge Mike Brown in ESPN Fantasy Rugby. (0:57)

Ben Te'o will enter the 2018 Six Nations revitalised by six weeks in Brisbane undertaken at his own expense as Eddie's Jones' England centre looked to rehabilitate a serious ankle injury.

Te'o sustained a high sprain to the joint on club duty for Worcester in October and -- having undergone an operation that involved the insertion of a tightrope, plates and screws -- he jetted to Australia to begin the healing process.

There the former Samoa rugby league international trained under the guidance of Queensland State of Origin physio Rob Godbolt and Cowboys strength and conditioning coach Andrew Croll.

Although permitted by England and Worcester to recover on the other side of the world, Te'o had to fund the trip himself and believes the thousands outlaid is money well spent as he targets a start against Italy on Sunday week.

"It was important for me to go away and I didn't mind picking up the tab because I know it is going to pay me back one day. It's worth it," Te'o said. "When you get injuries there is not just the physical side but the mental side as well. To come back really, really motivated and refreshed is a big plus.

"I needed some nice firm surfaces to run on. The weather was another factor and just getting right away. I've done stuff like this before and I've always found it does pay me back eventually.

"Sometimes when you're rehabilitating at a club, there are other players too and you need to fit in. There it was all tailored towards me. I've had a really good run with injuries and sometimes it's just your time.

"You cop an injury, go away, reassess, get the hunger back and focus on the body. I'm good to go against Italy, if selected. I'll be ready. The ankle's feeling really good."

Te'o is competing with Jonathan Joseph for the outside centre berth at the Stadio Olimpico in what would be his first England appearance since last year's Grand Slam showdown with Ireland.

The British and Irish Lions centre has forged his reputation on powerful ball-carrying and intelligent lines, but he lost 2kgs in Australia in the belief it would benefit his game.

"It doesn't sound like a lot but when you've been training hard for a long time at a certain weight, to drop that two is quite hard," Te'o said. "I tidied up the diet. I cut out sugars and dropped the portion sizes. I tried some of those pre-made meals and they really helped.

"When you're 30 years of age you want to make sure you're looking after your body and get the most out of your sport. Being a little bit lighter is going to be good for getting around the field. The game is getting real fast now so if you can get a bit fitter and stronger in the collisions it will be a help."