Reds admit defeat in O'Connor race
June 8, 2011
James O'Connor will not sign for the Reds © Getty Images
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie has conceded defeat in the race to sign Wallabies star James O'Connor.
The Queensland franchise have been involved in a four-way tug-of-war for the 20-year-old back's services, with his current side, the Western Force, also duking it out with the Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels.
Reports in Australia that he had re-signed in Perth were dismissed as premature on Tuesday, but McKenzie has now admitted that he will not be joining friend and Wallabies team-mate Quade Cooper in Brisbane.
"We've been contacted and he won't be at the Reds," he said. "Where he is going to be I don't know. I've always said it is difficult to get people to leave and move around.
"The longer it goes on, the less likely it is. I have always been, I guess, suspicious he wasn't coming our way for some time because it's been dragging on. I've been thinking more laterally for some time."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene