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Tuesday Aug 1, 2023

Wallaby legend remains hopeful of World Cup call-up despite year long absence

Former Australian ‘bad boy’ James O’Connor believes he still has plenty to offer an out-of-sorts Wallaby side heading into this year’s World Cup.

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O’Connor has been sidelined from the national squad since the horror show against Argentina in 2022 which coincided with his being replaced by veteran fly-half, Bernard Foley.

At the time, then Head Coach Dave Rennie said veteran O’Connor was “devastated” to be axed from the team, which was in its early stages of building towards this year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

“James got a crack in the last Test as we saw his experience as very important and wanted him to drive the ship,” Rennie told reporters at the time.

“We wanted him to implement our plan and we were pretty clunky, to be honest. [We] lacked cohesion so he’s missed out on selection.”

Despite the setback, O’Connor hasn’t lost hope for what would probably be, if selected, his final World Cup.

“I can’t pick myself but my rugby’s been consistent,” he said.

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“I’ve shown I can play different positions, am putting my hand up but the reality is it’s someone else’s call. Every couple of years the game changes; if you don’t adapt you fall behind. World Cup rugby is based on territory, collisions and one mistake can change the whole game.

“Eddie’s talking about discipline, that’s a big part of it too” he added, well aware of his previous indiscretions including a 2017 arrest and two nights in a Parisian jail.

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