Wallabies outcast James O’Connor is set to take a giant stride towards the Rugby World Cup with his selection to face the All Blacks in Perth on Saturday.
Six years after starting in his last Test, the former Wallabies bad boy will get a chance to push his case to play in the Japan tournament later this year with a call-up in the centres.
O’Connor is set to replace Tevita Kuridrani at outside centre, giving Australia another much-needed ball-player against the world champions.
It’s a case of now or never for the 29-year-old, who only signed a new Rugby Australia and Queensland Reds deal last month. He got just ten minutes off the bench against Argentina, so a strong showing against the All Blacks will go a long way towards RWC selection.
O’Connor became the youngest ever Super Rugby debutant at age 17 and the second youngest Wallaby in Australian rugby history at age 18, but his promising career went off track.
His last Test start was in 2013 and he last played in Australia in 2015, when he spent a season with the Reds, before being released to shift his career to the UK.
The Wallabies team to face New Zealand this Saturday will be announced tomorrow (Thursday).