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Thread: Western Force open to re-signing former golden boy of Australian rugby James O’Connor

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    Western Force open to re-signing former golden boy of Australian rugby James O’Connor

    Bring him back. He may be a dickhead but he deserves another chance. He is still young enough. Hopefully he can be swayed to be one of the stars in World Series Rugby.. providing he is still good enough.

    Western Force open to re-signing former golden boy of Australian rugby James O’Connor

    WALLABIES
    September 20, 2018 4:18pm
    by STAFF WRITERS
    Source: FOX SPORTS
    The Western Force are interested in re-signing former Test back James O’Connor.


    The Western Force are interested in re-signing former Test back James O’Connor.Source: Supplied
    WELL, that didn’t take long.

    Just days after the former golden boy of Australian rugby James O’Connor revealed he wanted to represent the Wallabies again, one of his former clubs have expressed interest in once again re-signing the prodigious talent.

    Eight years after his departure from the Western Force, the Super Rugby club which gave him his debut as a 17-year-old have provided a road back to Australian rugby.

    In an interview with ESPN, former teammate and Western Force Head of Elite Performance Matt Hodgson said O’Connor was being eyed up for a return to their breakaway World Series Rugby tournament.

    “That’s the type of player we’re looking for,” Hodgson told ESPN.

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    “Obviously knowing James quite well, he’d potentially be one we’re looking at.

    “I think he fits the criteria we’re looking at, especially leading into a World Cup year.

    “Like James mentioned, (if) he is interested in coming back for the World Cup, then this is a good avenue and something we would potentially look at.”

    James O’Connor was the youngest player in Super Rugby history to make his debut.
    James O’Connor was the youngest player in Super Rugby history to make his debut.Source: News Limited

    The 28-year-old, who left Australian rugby for the second time in 2015 and hasn’t played for the Wallabies since 2013, is currently contracted with Sale in the English Premiership.

    But the 44-capped Wallaby, who made his Test as an 18-year-old, revealed earlier in the week that he had “a deep desire to play for the Wallabies again.”

    “I have learnt from my mistakes and I am now ready,” O’Connor posted on his social media accounts.

    “Ready to bleed green and gold. Ready to bleed for my brothers. Ready to bleed for the people.

    “I will be back playing in October and I will have my eye firmly on the World Cup. I will not let myself or anyone down again.”


    Standing in the way of a potential move back to the Force is the ongoing uncertainty over eligibility.

    At present, Rugby Australia doesn’t officially Andrew Forrest’s World Series Rugby competition and therefore Force contracts are not yet registered.

    NEW PODCAST! Former Wallaby Cameron Shepherd and World Cup-winner Joe Roff are our special guests to discuss what went wrong for the Wallabies, where to next, brilliant Boks and why John Mitchell has joined Eddie Jones in England

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    “So it all sits where we get with Wallaby eligibility and things like that,” Hodgson said.

    ESPN is also reporting that the Waratahs and Brumbies won’t look to sign O’Connor, while the Reds are also unlikely to consider the former Wallaby given the wave of controversy that has followed his career.

    O’Connor had his Australian Rugby Union contract torn up in 2013 after being barred from an international flight.

    His axing saw him move his career overseas.

    While O’Connor joined the Reds in 2015, his season was marred by injury and after missing out on Michael Cheika’s Wallabies squad once again moved to Europe.

    In early 2017, O’Connor was arrested for attempting to buy cocaine alongside former All Blacks lock Ali Williams in Paris and as a result his contract was not renewed by Toulon.

    The incident occurred just weeks after O’Connor hinted of wanting to return to Super Rugby.

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    Another version here and as this story points out the Force offered him a lifeline before and he turned it down.
    I'm undecided. How many times have we heard him say he's a different person now and how many chances does he get?

    James O’Connor, Western Force reunion in frame
    Nick Taylor The West Australian
    Thursday, 20 September 2018 5:14PM

    Western Force are prepared to talk with wayward star James O’Connor about a return to Australia for World Series Rugby.
    But they insist that the former Wallaby, who infamously left the Force for the Melbourne Rebels eight years ago claiming it would improve his “brand”, would need to make the first approach.
    He would also have to show that he was a reformed character after his poor off-field record.
    Former Force captain Matt Hodgson, now head of elite performance, said he would be happy to talk with O’Connor.
    “He is the type of player, if he was interested in coming back to Australia, that we would be interested in,” Hodgson said.
    “We would have a conversation but there has been no direct dialogue.”

    More here
    https://thewest.com.au/sport/western...-ng-b88967539z

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    Frankly, I would be far, far more interested in hearing about how the other teams are coming along and who is playing for them. It is desperately important that they are credible and competitive, otherwise the whole thing is going to flop into a screaming heap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wholetruth View Post
    Another version here and as this story points out the Force offered him a lifeline before and he turned it down.
    I'm undecided. How many times have we heard him say he's a different person now and how many chances does he get?

    James O’Connor, Western Force reunion in frame
    Nick Taylor The West Australian
    Thursday, 20 September 2018 5:14PM

    Western Force are prepared to talk with wayward star James O’Connor about a return to Australia for World Series Rugby.
    But they insist that the former Wallaby, who infamously left the Force for the Melbourne Rebels eight years ago claiming it would improve his “brand”, would need to make the first approach.
    He would also have to show that he was a reformed character after his poor off-field record.
    Former Force captain Matt Hodgson, now head of elite performance, said he would be happy to talk with O’Connor.
    “He is the type of player, if he was interested in coming back to Australia, that we would be interested in,” Hodgson said.
    “We would have a conversation but there has been no direct dialogue.”

    More here
    https://thewest.com.au/sport/western...-ng-b88967539z
    Well he has been exiled for a while now so I reckon for a pro player with a limited lifespan that's a pretty harsh punishment. Then again he was probably earning more overseas so it probably felt like the ARU did him a favour. I reckon he is due another chance, whether that's in the Wallabies or just at this level so he can play pro rugby at home instead of abroad then I am ok with it. Plus World Series Rugby needs some big names. I dont think an All Black that played a handful of tests off the bench and Ian Prior are going to attract a global/Asian audience, but maybe injecting a few major star names into the tournament will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyS View Post
    Frankly, I would be far, far more interested in hearing about how the other teams are coming along and who is playing for them. It is desperately important that they are credible and competitive, otherwise the whole thing is going to flop into a screaming heap.
    Dan Carter better sign with Hong Kong..

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyS View Post
    Frankly, I would be far, far more interested in hearing about how the other teams are coming along and who is playing for them. It is desperately important that they are credible and competitive, otherwise the whole thing is going to flop into a screaming heap.
    Absolutely agree! So going through possible teams:

    Force will not doubt be competitive but are about 3-4 players short for a very good roster.
    2 x Japanese teams - if they are continuations of existing Top League teams, ie Panasonic they will be competitive.
    Fiji will be competitive.

    So at least 4 should be up there.

    Then a Western Sydney team with a lot of Samoans and Tongans, some marquee players and some locals, should be competitive.

    A NZ team based on an existing club (if reports are true) will not doubt be competitive.

    A Hong Kong team will have some structures to build on, but will need a lot of marquee players and will take time to gel.

    The big concern is the final team. If Singapore is correct it will be tough for them to be competitive. Nothing like the structure in HK to build on. A total new and transplanted team.

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    I don’t know about JOC
    Leopards ,spots and so on .
    quite a spotty leopard too.
    No dickheads policy.
    Clearly remember hanging so long waiting on his decision to go or stay based on making his kpi
    Prefer if he signed for western Sydney
    When do we find out whether the remainder of our team are signing up?

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    Get him, Giteau and Henjak in a package deal. Throw in Quade and Kurtley too!

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    Japan and the Pacific Islands for Aussie Super 9's!

    Let's have one of these in WA! Click this link: Saitama Super Arena - New Perth Stadium?

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    My personal opinion... Screw O'Connor, his head is way to far up his arse. He/ his agent will be going for top dollar or just show boating to get more dollars overseas. He was given plenty of chances and yes he was young and naive but he stuffed up, live with the consequences... wait are you sure the tahs/wallabies/ra dont want him and will pay too much and pay out his contract.

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    I wonder if we could get him, then sell him off for more?

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    Japan and the Pacific Islands for Aussie Super 9's!

    Let's have one of these in WA! Click this link: Saitama Super Arena - New Perth Stadium?

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    I think the Force are building a great culture, one of respect and willingness to play for each other. Bringing in tossers will only jeopardise that so they should think long and hard before bringing in guys like this, learn from past mistakes.

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    If we were to bring in JO'C, I'd hope it's on a small guaranteed salary, but with add-ons based on performance, behaviour, etc. If he/his agent baulk at the idea, it'd be easy to say: "But you/your client is a star and a reformed character - it should be easy to qualify for these bonuses."

    However, where does JO'C play these days? He is listed by Sale as a fly-half, but doesn't appear to be first choice, nor the kicker, either. We have a decent 10 (Deegan) and back-up (Grant), plus Alatimu. Our centres look good with Brache, Iona & Taefu (plus Pisi). And our back line has Lacey, Uyen, McGregor, Davies and Dakuwaqa (and Grant!) fighting for places. OK, JO'C may be considered an upgrade over some of those players, but is he sufficient of an upgrade to splash the extra cash and risk disrupting the team chemistry. Remember when he was last here there were several members of the squad who had no hesitation in seeing him to the door (a certain POTY awards night springs to mind!)

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    I think Hogdo and his team are astute enough to be the judge and jury on the JOC call, they are not going to jeopardise everything that already been done, and yet to be done, for the sake of one individual.

    Plus if it puts the srews on RA to ensure we have a direct Wallabies pathway, that is real win too.

    Like Twiggy does, in Hodgo I trust

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheikh View Post
    If we were to bring in JO'C, I'd hope it's on a small guaranteed salary, but with add-ons based on performance, behaviour, etc. If he/his agent baulk at the idea, it'd be easy to say: "But you/your client is a star and a reformed character - it should be easy to qualify for these bonuses."
    Isn't that just a long way of saying KPI's.

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    Yeah, but KPIs are mainly performance based.

    Having bonuses tied to behaviour (eg, extra community rugby engagement), or loss of bonuses if ever mentioned in a negative press story wouldn't normally be included.

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