ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
REGISTER
LOGIN
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
Thursday Jul 4, 2019

ThrowbackThursday: 10 years on from Wallabies debut, James O'Connor targets RWC 2019 upon return to Australia

A decade after his Wallabies debut, James O’Connor may be set to return to the national set-up in time for the Rugby World Cup after being released by Sale Sharks this week. An often controversial figure in his early playing days, O’Connor is about to sign a deal with the Reds and could in time be a direct replacement for the disgraced Israel Folau.

ADVERTISEMENT

O’Connor’s career to date has up-and-down to say the least, from a stunning Super Rugby debut as a teenager and scoring a hat-trick in his first international against Italy in 2009, to being dumped by Rugby Australia for various off-field incidents.

Tipped as the next big thing in Australian rugby, O’Connor burst onto the scene and immediately impressed. Despite his diminutive stature, O’Connor sometimes defied expectations by getting the better of far larger players.

But O’Connor is probably best known for his off-the-field antics, which allegedly led to his contract with Toulon not being renewed in 2017, forcing his move to Sale Sharks for the following season. He was also arrested alongside Toulon team-mate Ali Williams for attempting to buy cocaine in Paris in 2017.

Since then though, O’Connor, who last played for the Reds in 2015, seems to have rediscovered his game through a more stable period of his career with Sale.

Now, he’s returned to Australia but has been told to sit tight until his Queensland Reds contract is ready to be signed. It’s understood that he will have to adhere to extra behavioural protocols as a condition of his return, so hasn’t officially signed just yet.

It’s not the first time O’Connor has joined the Reds in an attempt to get back into the green and gold of his country; his switch to the Queensland-based side in 2015 was a ploy to catch the attention of Michael Cheika, which backfired.

ADVERTISEMENT

Now rediscovering his early form, and with limited full-back options for Cheika following Folau’s sacking, the stars may be realigning for Part 2 of the James O’Connor story.

He didn’t make selection in today’s Wallabies squad for the first Test of the Rugby Championship against South Africa, but trained with them on Wednesday so could still be in line for a fairytale return at some point in the next few weeks or months.

WALLABIES SQUAD

Backs: Tom Banks, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Kurtley Beale, Jack Maddocks, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Samu Kerevi, Matt Toomua, Bernard Foley, Christian Lealiifano, Will Genia, Nic White, Joe Powell.

ADVERTISEMENT

Forwards: Isa Naisarani, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper, Liam Wright, Luke Jones, Rob Valetini, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Rory Arnold, Sekope Kepu, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Tom Robertson, Folau Fainga’a, Tolu Latu, Jordan Uelese.

Related Articles

  • 36 WEEKS AGO

    New compilation shows how 132kg former teenage...

  • 50 WEEKS AGO

    Rugby League's State of Origin could help...

  • 56 WEEKS AGO

    Rennie confident that Wallabies youth can...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    No other player has mastered intercepts like Bryan Habana could

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: French flair lights up Brisbane with EPIC coast-to-coast try

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Watch how Marcus Smith lit up Twickenham on England debut vs USA

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Extended highlights show why Josh Adams could be a Lions Test starter

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Aphelele Fassi: The debut Springbok that could change Warren Gatland's Lions selection

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    The controversial Watson tackle which escaped any card vs Springboks

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Lewis Ludlow received a four match ban for this knee to the face

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Controversial Marika Koroibete red card not upheld

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Wallabies will contest controversial red card after French player 'milked it'

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Wallabies fans raging after questionable early red card for Marika Koroibete

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 9 HOURS AGO

    Rugby Australia condemn Erasmus public 'attack', back their referee

  • 1 DAY AGO

    RWC winning coach launches unbelievable one hour rant at officials

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    New Rassie video targets foul play, confirming fake twitter account was his

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Critics hit out at Rassie Erasmus for fake twitter and 'comical' behaviour

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Awesome Daly kicking montage shows just how deadly his left boot really is

View All

Funnies

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Unimpressed Vunipola loses patience with Cheslin Kolbe in Cape Town

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    New compilation of rare Nigel Owens footage is comedy gold

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    The moment Ellis Genge soaks Ugo Monye live on TV is simply priceless

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Inside the Quins changing rooms after winning AWESOME Prem final

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    'I don't know what I'm saying!', Joe Marler's brilliant interview after EPIC Prem win

View All

Amateur

  • 38 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    A deeper look at Jason Robinson's incredible path to the top

  • 22 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bumping off tacklers and taking high balls, Rob Kearney had an impressive Super Rugby debut

  • 28 WEEKS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 29 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 35 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

View All