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
Boks can break mould
South African rugby boasts players with the ability to lead the Boks into an innovative new era, but a change in mindset is required for this to become a reality, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
All Blacks set mental benchmark
JOHN MITCHELL, writing on the Vodacom Rugby Portal, says the All Blacks have learned to manage fear.
What we’ve learned
Five lessons from the World Cup final and third-place play-off, according to SIMON BORCHARDT.