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.
"Family is Jean's priority and he puts that into a team context." Firdose Moonda pays tribute to Jean de Villiers with input from Allister Coetzee
The Monday Maul turns its attention to drunken nights out, a blunt-talking coach, hidden agendas and crooked feeds
As if beating the Springboks and Pumas on their home turf is not onerous enough Australia, it also involves a road trip from hell writes Greg Growden
He teed up Obolensky's try, fought in Burma and played cricket for Warwickshire - we Rewind to look at the story of Peter Cranmer