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.
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape
Move over, Castro - from falling off a chair to stepping off the team bus, Scrum Sevens recounts some of the strangest rugby injuries ever
Martin Gillingham on the latest from France and why the national side can learn a thing or two from Top 14 side Bordeaux Begles