Reds release O’Connor

James O'Connor has left the Reds with a year to go on his two-year contract.

A Queensland Rugby Union statement said the decision 'was due to a number of personal issues' that the QRU, Australian Rugby Union and Rugby Union Players' Association 'have been aware of since May'.

'James has experienced a difficult time personally since returning to Australia and we've been aware of that for some time,' said QRU chief executive Jim Carmichael. 'It is disappointing that James was not able to reach his full potential while he was with us but after a great deal of thought we believe it is in his and the Reds' best interests that we exercise our release clause in his contract.

'Therefore, James will return to Europe where he feels the spotlight on him is less intense.

'In our discussions, we've agreed that should James return to Australia to play rugby in the future, the Reds will have the first and last rights to secure his services.'

Photo: Rob Jefferies/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt