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The greatest blindsides of all time: Mike Teague

Mike Teague dots down for the Lions Rugby World

Mike Teague was an integral part of any team he played for, whether it be Gloucester, the Lions or England. One of the greatest blindsides to play the game

Sep 13, 2016 12:16 PM EDT

Major teams: Gloucester, Moseley, Cardiff
Country: England
Test span: 1985-1993
England caps: 27 (26 starts)
Lions caps: 3 (2 starts)
Test points: 15 (3T)

His finest hour was the 1989 Lions tour to Australia, when he missed the first-Test defeat through injury but came back to wear the No 6 jersey to such great effect in the next two Tests that he was voted Man of the Series as the tourists achieved a come-from-behind triumph for the first and only time.

Teague had only established himself in the England team that spring. He won his first three caps in 1985, aged 25, but was then left out until the 1989 Five Nations. He responded by bulking up and taking his fitness to new levels with what Gloucester folk call “Mad Dog” training, involving hill running over all kinds of terrain, carrying rocks and logs.

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The hard work enabled him to play his trademark physical game on what was, at times, a violent Lions tour and turn the tide in the visitors’ favour. Socks rolled down, a barnstorming Teague tackled everything that moved, was a driving force in the loose and a limpet in possession.

In 1990 he started just three England Tests, all at No 8, but played 11 times in 1991, scoring two tries on the way to a Grand Slam and going all the way to the World Cup final. Teague was so disappointed by England’s final defeat that he has never watched a replay.

He won just five more England caps and played one more Test for the Lions, finishing with a 100%-winning record for the tourists after beating New Zealand 20-7 in 1993.

Teague joined Gloucester from the All Blues club as a teenager in 1978 and played 301 times for the first team over the next 17 years, but had short spells at Stroud and Cardiff and a couple of seasons with Moseley from 1992.

He was a self-employed builder, which made it tough to balance his rugby commitments with his need to pay the bills during the amateur days. Now the owner of Teague Construction, he maintains close links with Gloucester RFC, co-owning and running Teague’s Bar, opposite Kingsholm.

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