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Thread: O'Connor confirms future with Force

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    O'Connor confirms future with Force

    Wayne Smith | June 22, 2009

    Article from: The Australian

    JAMES O'Connor confirmed yesterday he would be staying put at the Western Force, dismissing an 11th-hour Queensland bid for his services as coming "too late".

    But whether he also will be staying put in the Wallabies fullback position is anything but certain.

    The Test sensation said he had not actually re-signed with the Force, but after months of wrestling with his future admitted Perth is where his head is "at".

    "Mentally I'm there, pretty much," O'Connor, 18, said. "At the moment I'm happy with where I'm going. Over at the Force it's nice and solid. They've guided me pretty well."

    Outwardly, things appear anything but nice and solid at the Reds, although head coach Phil Mooney clearly is hoping a change of forwards coach and of team manager will help arrest Queensland's fading fortunes.

    O'Connor, born and raised on the Gold Coast where his family still lives, was as surprised as everyone else that his home state did not initially approach him with a contract offer. "I don't know too much. At the Reds they've got a good ball-playing structure with Berrick Barnes and Quade Cooper so I was always in two minds," he said.

    "I heard last week about their interest. It was definitely a good option, to think about going home. I think their structural changes maybe came a bit too late."

    The only lingering uncertainty about O'Connor involves his negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union, which is understood to be offering him only a modest top-up on his standard Super 14 contract. The mere fact an 18-year-old is going through a re-contracting process after three Tests highlights just how precocious a talent he is. Just for the record, he wants it known he has started to shave. "Just".

    But for all the youthful excitement he brings to the game generally and to the Wallabies in particular, there are no guarantees he will hold his Test fullback position tomorrow when Robbie Deans announces his full-strength side to meet France in Sydney on Saturday.

    Adam Ashley-Cooper, who played brilliantly at fullback against the Barbarians before being relieved in the 15 jersey by O'Connor for both Italy Tests, reapplied the pressure with a man-of-the-match performance off the bench against the Azzurri in Melbourne on Saturday night. Deans said he had been impressed by the maturity Ashley-Cooper showed when tossed initially on to the left wing as a blood-bin substitute for Peter Hynes and then at fullback, taking over from O'Connor in the 70th minute.

    "He came on and he took the initiative," Deans said. "He didn't just feed off the work of others. He really stepped up and led and that's great."

    The Wallabies coach ruefully acknowledges that the call on who would play as fullback was one of "many tough decisions" he would have to make this week, but he was quick to point out that Ashley-Cooper was by no means locked into just the one starting position. "Anyone who can thrive in a number of positions has a much better chance of starting," Deans said.

    O'Connor and Ashley-Cooper might be jousting for the one Test spot, but each has a healthy respect for the other. "He had a cracker of a (starting) debut last week and I'm really proud of him," Ashley-Cooper said of his young rival. "It's really healthy for the team when kids like him come in and put pressure on players like me. It creates that competition and allows us to push ourselves even further. It's going to be very important for us in the long-term." O'Connor, likewise, was in awe of Ashley-Cooper's performance off the bench in Melbourne. "Coopey played really well last night. When he came on he just split them open," he said.

    Although team officials had played down the significance of O'Connor missing training last week, the teenager yesterday revealed just how heavy the fitness cloud hanging over him before the match had been. "It wasn't the swine flu but I had bad stomach cramps," he said. "I don't know what to put it down to but I was bed-ridden for a couple of days. I felt OK out there. I'm not going to make any excuses."

    He has little need for them, anyhow. Aside from dropping the first kick that came his way, the result of having too much time to think about what he would do next, and of occasionally being bumped out of the way in the scramble to haul in Craig Gower's bombs, O'Connor turned in another excellent game.

    Had the ball bounced his way instead of into the arms of Tatafu Polota-Nau, he could have scored the Wallabies' first try and it was his thoughtfully delayed inside ball that sent Ryan Cross over for the team's second.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...015651,00.html

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    Veteran robyn <3's Avatar
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    *breathes out very very deeply*

    THANKYOU James!! I knew you would do the smart thing!!

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    Senior Player tic's Avatar
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    Quote-

    O'Connor, born and raised on the Gold Coast where his family still lives, was as surprised as everyone else that his home state did not initially approach him with a contract offer. "I don't know too much. At the Reds they've got a good ball-playing structure with Berrick Barnes and Quade Cooper so I was always in two minds," he said

    Wow - Qld may have really dropped the ball on this one - everyone just assumed it was between the Force and the Brumbies. I wonder if this is part of the reason why the Reds have just sacked their recruitment officer.

    I still have a sneaky suspicion that Rabbit might return to Rugby League in the years ahead. He played RL on the Gold Coast until he moved to Nudgee College in Brisbane for his last 2 years of school. It would be interesting to know if any NRL clubs have been courting him.

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    Champion lara93's Avatar
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    YAY!!!
    good choice jameswise stay

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    BOKKE
    “Let me put it this way, A Springbok team contains Afrikaners, Englishmen, coloureds and blacks. It has parochial foes in Bulls, Sharks, Stormers, Cheetahs and Lions. It is a recipe for war! Yet in all the years of John Smit’s captaincy, there has never been one unhappy customer, not one voice of rebellion against his leadership. He is the glue that holds the Springboks together. The man is a legend!”- Jake White

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    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    Wayne Smith | June 22, 2009

    Article from: The Australian

    O'Connor, 18, said. "At the moment I'm happy with where I'm going. Over at the Force it's nice and solid. They've guided me pretty well."
    Nice to hear some positive feedback on our organisation.

    Good onya JOC, now let's get on with it!

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    Just happy to be here

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    Veteran Swee_82's Avatar
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    The ghosts of Digby still loom... look forward to James putting pen to paper soon.

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    Last edited by Swee_82; 22-06-09 at 18:38.

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    well done James! glad to have you in our squad

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    Be There. Be Heard. Be The Force Behind The Force

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    As with Swee, but the signs are good.



    ....................................

    James O'Connor.

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    "Bloody oath we did!"

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    SOMEONE GIVE THE LAD A DOTTED LINE! GET HIM LOCKED IN ASAP!

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    I STILL HAVE FAITH!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jono View Post
    SOMEONE GIVE THE LAD A DOTTED LINE! GET HIM LOCKED IN ASAP!
    Sounds like ARU are the problem here, they seem to be dragging their feet a bit coughing up the dough.

    I guess Rabbit's playing it smart, every game he plays, he confirms his value, it was pretty quiet for him on Saturday and he still had a ripper!

    I'm not going to celebrate too hard until there's an actual confirmed contract, but things look as good as they ever will before the ARU top-up is sorted out.

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    C'mon the

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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    Sounds like ARU are the problem here, they seem to be dragging their feet a bit coughing up the dough.
    Sounds like it. Hurry up ARU, he is the future of rugby in Australia.

    Good on ya James.


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    Go The Force!

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    Surely if he said he'll sign, he's staying at the Force...

    I wish him all the best; it won't be easy next season… However it maybe the making of kid… He has set himself a huge challenge in 2010… And with all that cash comes expectations form those within the Force and the fans outside...

    James O'Connor staying will make many Force fans very happy which is great after loosing so many this year... I hope they are as kind to him when the going gets tough next season...

    However I don't he made any further claims for a great ARU pay day after last weekends match...

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    Give him the standard ARU $$$ and half of Lote's.

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    Champion pieter blackie's Avatar
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    Like I said in another thread
    Quote Originally Posted by pieter blackie View Post
    JOC will be part of the Force but he will be playing 15 on Deans instruction Maybe later next year or even in 2011 will he be moved to 10 but only if it fits into Deans plans for the world cup But I see him Playing 15 even into the world cup with Gits on 10
    He will not get the game time with the Brumbies and will always be second fiddle to Gits on 10 and Ashley-Cooper on 15

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    I can see where you are coming from there Pieter but I have a strange feeling Mitch wouldn't be "told" by Robbie to do much at all and, if so, would have been under the same instruction this season as Robbie has made it very clear since JO'Cs selection for the Spring Tour that he wanted him at #15, yet for us he primarily played at #12.

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