O'Connor to leave London Irish at end of season
January 31, 2014
James O'Connor will leave London Irish at the end of the season © Getty Images
London Irish have announced star back James O'Connor will leave the club at the end of the season.
O'Connor arrived at the Exiles earlier this season after being kicked out of the Wallabies camp due to his off-field ill-discipline. He has impressed for Irish and although the club had previously spoken of just how keen they were to extend O'Connor's deal, his desire to play in the 2015 Super Rugby competition has seen them unable to extend his contract.
"James is a world class player who has had a very positive impact on the team and I'm sure he'll play his heart out for us until the end of the season," London Irish boss Brian Smith said. "He will head back to Australia in 2015 to follow his World Cup dream and the club wishes him well with that. If the opportunity ever arises in the future then he will always be welcome back at London Irish."
O'Connor added: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at London Irish and I'm looking forward to the next few months. The club welcomed me in with open arms last year in what was a difficult time and have been brilliant to me during my time so far.
"I've learnt a great deal both on and off the field and will leave at the end of the season with great memories and mates too. I would particularly like to express my gratitude to the owners of the club, especially Mick Crossan who is a passionate Irishman with great visions for this special cub.
"I will be following closely to see how the boys get on and who knows what might happen further down the line."
O'Connor has been linked with another short-term move in Europe with Toulon keen and that may yet materialise before the start of the 2015 Super Rugby season.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
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
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold