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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 1 August, 2014

O’Connor tipped for Wallabies World Cup return

London Irish coach Brian Smith expects the talented back to make a bid for RWC2015 inclusion.

O'Connor was out-half for the Wallabies during the Lions tour.
O'Connor was out-half for the Wallabies during the Lions tour.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

LONDON IRISH HEAD coach Brian Smith says he expects James O’Connor to be back in Australia in time to compete for a spot in the Wallabies’ World Cup squad.

The fullback was man of the match after scoring all of the Exiles’ points in the 22-9 victory over Worcester in the Premiership yesterday, following which Smith spoke about the 23-year-old’s possible future plans.

“James O’Connor is a world-class player and he should be playing for his country,” Smith told the Sydney Morning Herald. “James has got his heart set on playing for the Wallabies again and he’ll start that journey again in January 2015.

We’ve got him through until the end of this season. If we’re really fortunate it would be nice to have him for next season, but James is not the person we’re going to build our team around because he’s going to be playing for the Wallabies again, so he’s a bit of a comet across the sky really.”

It remains to be seen whether one of the Australian franchises will take O’Connor on board, given the issues that first led to him leaving for Europe. The ARU [Australian Rugby Union] may have central involvement in convincing one of their sides that the versatile back can be relied upon.

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