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Thread: Brilliant O'Connor states case for Test start

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    Senior Player Timbo's Avatar
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    Brilliant O'Connor states case for Test start

    NEIL DEVEY, The West Australian June 8, 2010, 8:21 pm



    Western Force star James O'Connor could have played himself into the Wallabies starting line up for this Saturday's first Test against England after an outstanding display for the Australian Barbarians tonight.

    O'Connor scored three tries and booted another 10 points as the Barbarians drew 28-28 with England's midweek side in an entertaining enough entree to this weekend's main course.

    And coach Robbie Deans could not have been more impressed with the teenage fullback.

    "I don't think he could have done much more," Deans said.

    "He was assertive in his game - we know he's a talented individual - he served his wings well, he served his team well and he served himself well."

    O'Connor played just 46 minutes before Deans pulled him off. And in that short time he again demonstrated the talents that make him one of the most exciting prospects in the world game.

    Against an England side probably aware they're not in coach Martin Johnson's plans for this Saturday, the Barbarians overcame two early Olly Barkley penalties to take control.

    The visitors were left a man short in defence when O'Connor went over for his first try, then the teenager sold the tourists' backline a simple dummy and was in for his second.

    Force prop Pek Cowan could be asked to back up in the Wallabies' depleted front row ths Saturday and Johnson would have enjoyed his forwards' superiority tonight, with hooker Lee Mears bundling over before halftime.

    And another Force man - winger Nick Cummins - also had a mixed evening, fluffling two chances when the line was in sight.

    But there was no denying O'Connor and after the break he again took advantage of the being the extra man, before his departure saw the home side lose their impetus and suddenly England went on the front foot.

    Barkley's boot closed the gap, then two tries in the last two minutes from winger Matt Banahan and No8 Dan Ward Smith looked like stealing an unlikely victory for England.

    But Waratahs stand-off Berrick Barnes landed a penalty to square the ledger and give the Barbarians a deserved share of the spoils.
    Australian Barbarians 28

    England 28
    Scorers
    Australian Barbarians: Tries: O'Connor (3); Pens: O'Connor (2), Barnes; Cons O'Connor (2):

    England: Tries: Mears, Ward-Smith, Banahan; Pens: Barkley (3); Cons: Barkley (2)

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    Veteran robyn <3's Avatar
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    After the game James came around with a little ice on his knee - said it was stiff and a little sore but nothing more. That could be the only reason he would not play on Saturday.

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    Legend Contributor Thequeerone's Avatar
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    James was brilliant but MOM imho was Hodgson.

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    Senior Player Contributor WF2006's Avatar
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    Wow, is this guy a new journo for the West?
    He actually seems to understand rugby.

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