Wallabies lose O'Connor for Italy Test
November 15, 2010
James O'Connor wore a black armband at Twickenham in honour of his late friend © Getty Images
Wallabies wing James O'Connor has flown back to Australia to attend a friend's funeral, meaning he will be absent for the Wallabies' clash with Italy in Florence on Saturday.
Having established himself on the wing this year, O'Connor has become part of Robbie Deans' exciting first-choice back three alongside Kurtley Beale and Drew Mitchell. He is due back in Europe in time for Australia's final tour match against France on November 27.
His absence opens the door for a team-mate to impress against the Azzurri, most likely Lachie Turner, who has been named at fullback for the midweek match against Munster on Tuesday night.
O'Connor, who wore a black armband in Australia's weekend loss to England at Twickenham, tweeted on Sunday night, London time: "Hey tweeps. At heathrow airport heading home tonight for a while so gna be scarce for the next few days. Will catch u all soon tho..!"
Meanwhile, Australian rugby had some more sad news as former Wallaby Don 'Joe' Kraefft passed away on the weekend. Second rower Kraefft represented Australia on the 1947-48 tour of Europe and North America.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies