O’Connor’s Toulon move confirmed
- 06 Feb 2014
Exiled Wallaby James O’Connor will join Toulon on a one-year deal that will hamper his World Cup hopes.
Club president Mourad Boudjellal announced on Thursday that the 23-year-old has signed on with the French side and will come on board at the end of his season with London Irish.
O’Connor's off-field behaviour led to the cancellation of his ARU contract and rejection by other Australian Super Rugby franchises forced him to look abroad in his rugby career.
Despite playing in England, the utility back had said that he wanted to return to Australia in 2015 to earn selection for the World Cup. But his decision to join Toulon throws his eligibility into question as Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has emphasised that all players need to be playing for an Australian province next year to be in line for World Cup selection.
O’Connor will now link up with his former Wallabies team-mates Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell.
Toulon also feature England’s Delon and Steffon Armitage and Jonny Wilkinson, New Zealand’s David Smith, and South Africa’s Bakkies Botha, Bryan Habana, Joe van Niekerk, Juan Smith and Craig Burden; all of whom dominate the starting line-up.
The club has also recently announced another high-profile signing in the form of Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny.
Photo: Rob Munro/Getty Images
Naholo’s confidence boost
Waisake Naholo has a point to prove with the All Blacks, writes MARC HINTON.
What we’ve learned
Five lessons from the past weekend's Super Rugby final, according to CRAIG LEWIS.
Mediocre Boks fail to inspire
The Springboks are rich in enthusiasm but poor in form, writes MARK KEOHANE in Business Day.