London Irish have confirmed that James O’Connor has been signed on a one year contract, offering him a lifeline after he was dumped out of the national set up following some off-field indiscretions. He will make his debut against Northampton Saints.
The highly talented Wallaby was involved in a number of bust ups that found him out of favour with the Wallabies, and with nowhere to go after the Melbourne Rebels released him, and the Western Force were reportedly the only side interested in his services in Australia.
He looked abroad to the likes of France, but has opted to join Reading based side London Irish, teaming up with fellow Wallaby Brian Smith.
“I’m not gonna lie, I’ve made many mistakes and that’s how I’ve sort of got myself into this position. But I’d like to take a positive out of it,” explained O’Connor at this morning’s press conferance.
“I’ve drawn a line in the sand, I want to think about the future now. Obviously the Spring Tour [the Wallabies in Europe] was taken out of my hands.. It’s going to be tough watching the boys play on the weekend, but I’ll definitely be at the game suporting them.”
Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie said that he has spoken to O’Connor and made his preference clear, but the talented back ultimately made his own decision.
“You can only encourage people and in the end they have to make a decision. He’s made a choice about what he’s going to do so he has to make it the right decision,” said McKenzie.
“I made it clear what my preference was, for him as a person. I wasn’t talking to him as a coach, I was talking to him as a person, but that’s between me and him.”
It’s a huge coup for London Irish, where he is expected to play fullback, providing he gets his off-field discipline sorted out. The Exiles are currently third from the bottom of the Premiership table.
Credit to RugbyMedia