James O'Connor close to new rugby deal
September 13, 2013
James O'Connor is hoping to receive some good news in a disappointing year © Getty Images
O'Connor, 23, has been left in limbo at Super Rugby level since being dumped by Melbourne Rebels in July. He is keen to continue his international career with the Wallabies, but he needs to earn a deal with the Force if that is to happen. Queensland Reds, New South Wales Waratahs and the Brumbies have already ruled out moving for O'Connor, and Australia pick players for test duty only if they are signed with an Australian Super Rugby franchise.
O'Connor's manager has been seeking out other options in case the Force don't make an offer, considering the National Rugby League as well as a playing stint in Europe, but the player is "very happy in rugby at the moment" and hopes to achieve greater heights with the Wallabies.
"I've got a lot I want to achieve in this game with this group," O'Connor said of the Wallabies ahead of The Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in Perth. "I don't think we've reached anywhere near our peak."
The Wallabies have a week off after playing Argentina, and O'Connor hopes to confirm his playing future during that period.
"That's when I can take some time out to evaluate where I'm at," he said. "If all things are going well, it could be done in that week - possibly. I love Perth. It's an amazing city. I spent four years here and I've come back every year as well for holidays and to catch up with mates. But it's in my manager's hands."
O'Connor, for the time being, is desperate to help the Wallabies snap their four-game losing run after they were thumped 38-12 by the Springboks in Brisbane, saying the team's lean form had left the players hurting and hungry to atone.
"A Test match loss is a lot heavier than a Super Rugby loss," O'Connor said. "You're never ready for it. It's not something you enjoy at all. It's very frustrating. You just want to get out there as soon as possible and start working on how to fix it."
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