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O’Connor joins London Irish

  • 29 Oct 2013
James O'Connor has signed for London Irish James O'Connor has signed for London Irish

Wallabies utility back James O'Connor has signed for Premiership side London Irish until the end of the season.

The 23-year-old has played 44 Tests and is expected to make his Premiership debut this weekend at Madejski Stadium when London Irish play the Northampton Saints.

O'Connor had his contract with the Australian Rugby Union terminated following a string of off-field incidents this year. After being dumped by the Rebels, a return to the Force was O'Connor's only option among Australia's Super Rugby teams, but he has chosen to go north for now.

'Having decided that I needed a change from both a personal and playing point of view, I spoke to clubs in Japan and France, and concluded that the best way forward for my development was to move to England,' said O'Connor. 'Given that I've left my support network back in Australia, London Irish offered me an environment that I felt comfortable with.

'The club is renowned as a welcoming, family club throughout the world, it has a highly regarded Australian director of rugby in Brian Smith and plays a style of rugby that appeals to me. In England and Wales they play a very high-pressured, territory based game. I thoroughly believe I can improve elements of my game by playing in the Premiership.'

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Handré Pollard, Jesse Kriel and Eben Etzebeth are on the cover of the new issue of SA Rugby magazine.

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