O’Connor edges closer to new rugby deal

The playing future of James O’Connor could be sorted as early as next week as the star Wallaby edges closer to a reunion with the Western Force.


O’Connor has been left in limbo at Super Rugby level since being dumped by the Melbourne Rebels in July.

The 23-year-old is keen to continue his international career with the Wallabies, but he needs to earn a deal with the Force if that is to happen.

Just in case his former club don’t come to the party with an offer, O’Connor’s manager has been seeking out other options.

A code switch to the NRL could be on the cards, along with a playing stint in Europe.

But O’Connor remains hopeful that won’t be necessary, expressing his desire to achieve greater heights with the Wallabies.

“I’m very happy in rugby at the moment,” O’Connor said ahead of Saturday night’s Test against Argentina in Perth.

“I’ve got a lot I want to achieve in this game with this group.

“I don’t think we’ve reached anywhere near our peak.”

The Wallabies have a week off after taking on Argentina, and O’Connor hopes to get everything sorted during that period.

“That’s when I can take some time out to evaluate where I’m at,” he said.

“If all things are going well, it could be done in that week – possibly.

“I love Perth. It’s an amazing city. I spent four years here and I’ve come back every year as well for holidays and to catch up with mates.

“But it’s in my manager’s hands.”

For the moment, O’Connor is desperate to help the Wallabies snap their four-game losing run.

Australia were thumped 38-12 by the Springboks in Brisbane last week, and O’Connor said the team’s recent lean trot had left the players hurting and hungry to atone.

“A Test match loss is a lot heavier than a Super Rugby loss,” O’Connor said.

“You’re never ready for it. It’s not something you enjoy at all. It’s very frustrating.

“You just want to get out there as soon as possible and start working on how to fix it.”