Red card can't hide Tele'a's potential

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Lynn McConnell     01 Apr 2019     Getty Images

The high was his stunning 30th minute try, created when left wing Rieko Ioane stormed into the backline at centre to create an opening and feed on to Tele'a, saw him put his powerful fend to use to push off wing Dillyn Leyds and second five-eighths Damian de Allende, before scoring.


The low was his final quarter red card for a tip tackle.

Leyds was the victim again as he followed a box kick. He leapt high to take the ball while Tele'a was too late to mount an aerial challenge, and too late to get out of the way, while also handling Leyds when he was in the air.

The South African fell to the ground hard and after consulting the TMO, referee Nick Briant issued the red card which despatched Tele'a to the sideline.

"I saw the high box kick. I was a bit deep and then had to really sprint to get there. I had my eyes on the ball the whole time. It was an unintentional collision, I apologised straight away. I guess that's just rugby, sometimes things happen by accident. I hope he's all good," he said.

"I'll definitely take this one and learn from it because you can't have these things happening," he said.

Tele'a's main concern was that a strong attacking finish from the Stormers would deny the Blues a win.

"I was pretty relieved – I thought I'd let the boys down.
"It was a tough game and we needed all 15 on the field. To go off and leave them like that was tough but I had faith they could get the job done," he said.

The 20-year-old who made his Super Rugby debut against the Sharks in Durban when coming on as a replacement to score his first try, faces the judiciary on Monday and will most likely receive a suspension.

A former New Zealand Under-20s representative, he has quickly become a starting fixture for the Blues but Saturday night's try was his first demonstration of the potential he brings to the side. When he got his chance from Ioane he was determined to make the most of it.

"I've had a few opportunities to finish this year but didn't really quite get there.

"I've had a little bit of stick from the boys, so I thought I'd give it my hardest and I ended up crossing. I was pretty happy with that.

"I'm learning off some pretty big names and I get to train and play with them every week. To get this opportunity with the injuries and stuff like that I'm just trying to take it a day at a time hopefully learning and keep building," he said.

Normally a midfield exponent, he said he was happy on the wing and any opportunity he got he wanted to take, he said.