Monday, July 14, 2008
Young Western Force centre James OConnor made history in this years Super 14, becoming the youngest ever player in the tournament. He's recently re-signed with the Force in Perth, and will continue to play in Australia for now. But, he has the unique option of choosing to play for either one of the Tri Nations teams Australia, South Africa, or New Zealand.
Australia is his home, but his grand parents are from South Africa, and mother and father from New Zealand. Hes played for Australia Sevens, but not for Australia A, which means hes still eligible for either one of the three countries, placing him in the unique situation of having to choose which country to play for.
Its not presumptuous to talk about him playing international rugby at this stage either. After getting his break in this years Super 14 at the age of just 17, OConnor, who was originally touted to be a back-up player, impressed so much that he played in every game since his debut.
He is just 180cm, weighs 83kg, and looks like a member of a boyband rather than a rugby player, but has grown in confidence with his four Super 14 appearances.
It was everything I expected it to be; faster, harder, with bigger players, bigger hits and fewer open spaces."
Now the question is - which colour international jersey will he choose to wear in the future if the opportunity arises?
"I had a bit of a chat to the New Zealanders but I'm happy with where I am right now.
"I've always had the dream, from when I was young, to play for my country. So I definitely want to play in a World Cup, hopefully the next World Cup would be awesome if I'm ready for that."
This feature on OConnor, done by Total Rugby, gives us a great insight into the world of the talented young man whos sure to have a huge future, wherever he plays.
17 Year old James O'Connor scores his first Super 14 try
That man Nonu puts in a huge hit on young Force center