Options almost run out for wayward James O'Connor
October 14, 2013
Time is against James O'Connor as he continues to work through options for next year © Getty Images
The fate of the controversial James O'Connor is set to be known in coming weeks but it seems his options are diminishing by the day.
O'Connor's future has been in limbo since being dumped by the Melbourne Rebels in July. The Force seemed set to snap up the 23-year-old, but negotiations stalled following a recent airport incident in which O'Connor was escorted out of the terminal by Australian Federal Police. After the incident, O'Connor lost his lucrative Australian Rugby Union contract.
With his future in Australia resting on whether Western Force would take a punt on him, there was speculation he would move to Europe. But reports over the weekend suggested that there was little interest from sides in France or England, with a general unwillingness to match his salary demands or to take on such a potentially difficult character.
Even the Force seem to remain unconvinced with coach Michael Foley telling the media they are still considering their next move. "Obviously there was an incident here at Perth Airport which tended to send things south a little bit," he said. "But we've continued to talk to James and we're definitely open-minded."
The Rugby Paper quotes an unnamed source in Australia as saying: "James wants to stay in Australia and rebuild his career even if that means returning to Western Force with his tail between his legs on little money."
One player attracting fewer adverse headlines is winger Nick Cummins who is keen to stay in Perth, but is waiting to see what sort of Wallabies' top-up he is offered before making a final call.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." We talk to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column