Queensland Reds signing James O'Connor is eyeing a spot in Australia's World Cup squad ahead of his return to Super Rugby.
The 24-year-old utility back, who last played for the Wallabies in 2013, was speaking to media on Tuesday as he was officially unveiled as a Reds player following his sojourn in Europe.
Sporting the No 14 jersey, O'Connor said stints with London Irish in England and Toulon in France had done him a world of good as he looks to put his early career indiscretions behind him and stake a claim for a recall to the Wallabies set-up.
'There’s no beating around the bush that I made mistakes [before leaving Australia] and it took me probably six months when I went away to come to an understanding and take a step back. I met a lot of good people and I think it just brushed off on me,' said O'Connor.
'I’ve done a fair bit of work with Jonny Wilkinson on my kicking and the way he rubs off on you improves your entire game. Training with Toulon, just on the training pitch everyone pushes each other.'
O'Connor made his international debut as an 18-year-old against Italy in 2008 and has gone on to represent his country on 44 occasions, the last of which came against Argentina in the 2013 Rugby Championship.
'You’d be lying if you’re a sportsman playing in your country and you didn’t want to play for your national team. It’s always the top goal to play for the Wallabies and I’d love to pull on that gold jersey right now if I could,' he said.
'I haven’t spoken to Cheik [Michael Cheika], I’ve had no communication with him at all. To be honest, I landed a couple of days ago and my sole focus is getting into the [Reds] team and playing rugby.'
Having grown up a Queensland supporter, O'Connor is relishing the opportunity to pull on the Reds jersey and fulfil whatever role he is tasked with.
'Fitting into the team and where I see my short-term and possibly moving into that long-term is on the wing. That’s one thing I do find from overseas, it’s sort of quickened that process up a little bit.
'Especially playing in France, I found it a lot more enjoyable out wide, getting into those wider channels, getting some one-on-ones. I think it could fit quite nicely with the players that we have in the team – some big centres, some quick guys and even some young boys that have come through the NRC competition.'
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