Ben Te'o: Worcester's Dean Ryan says centre is capable of playing for England
Worcester Warriors boss Dean Ryan says that Leinster centre Ben Te'o, one of the club's signings for 2016-17, already has the potential to play rugby union for England.
Ryan was responding to speculation that the 29-year-old rugby league convert is being viewed as an England possible.
"He's got the quality and potential to do that," Ryan told BBC Sport.
"But to play for England he's going to have to play well in an area that's got stronger over the last few weeks."
Auckland-born Te'o, who played one rugby league international for Samoa in 2008, qualifies for England through his mother, who was born and raised there.
He is currently in his second season with Irish provincial side Leinster, who he joined from Australian rugby league side South Sydney Rabbitohs, where he had been a team-mate of Sam Burgess, who was about to make the same switch.
He is not scheduled to join Worcester until the end of this season, but already Ryan has been asked about what path lies ahead for the second of this winter's five pre-agreed signings.
"He's a player of quality and he's English qualified but I've not had any conservations outside that," Ryan told BBC Hereford & Worcester.
"I know he's ambitious and that he's got aspirations to play Test rugby and I know he wants to do that through playing for Worcester. But I have no idea whether anyone else shares that line of thought.
"He's a real talent, a real athlete and is really driven to be successful. He's very direct. There's still things we think we can add to his game, but he's still got a lot to learn. The fact that we are bringing in a player of his quality, that he wants to come and that he sees what we're doing here is more important to me."
The speculation about Te'o comes on top of this week's revelation that Wigan and England winger Josh Charnley plans to switch codes to join Sale.
But it also comes at the end of a season in which the fate of Burgess in England's ill-fated Rugby Union World Cup campaign served as a warning to the dangers of over reliance on cross-code converts.
Warriors' plans for next season
Worcester Warriors have so far have made five signings for the 2016-17 season.
They will also be bringing in another centre, New-Zealand-born Jackson Willison from French side Grenoble.