O’Connor admitted he left last year’s World Cup hungry for more ball after playing in the centres and eventually being dropped to the bench for the quarter-final.
Despite that he began his second-coming at the Reds in the No.12 this season, but after just one game was moved to No.10 and hasn’t looked back.
His fingerprints were all over the side’s 64-5 defeat of Japan’s Sunwolves on Saturday in what was O’Connor’s first home game as a Red since unceremoniously leaving the club five years ago.
The win eclipsed the Reds’ biggest points haul and margin of victory, set in a 53-3 win over the Melbourne Rebels in 2011.
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It again thrust O’Connor, who turns 30 in July, into the frame for the Wallabies’ No.10 jersey alongside Brumbies upstart Noah Lolesio.
“I spent a lot time playing at the 12 position but I guess after that World Cup I was a little bit, not disappointed, but left me hungry because I wanted to get my hands on the ball a little bit more,” he told Fox Sports.
“It’s just unfolded that way (to play No.10 at the Reds), but I’m not going lie, I am enjoying it.
“I’m still learning, so go easy on me … but we’re getting there and I’m putting my hand up now for that spot.”
“He was on the wing bouncing around; I remember thinking ‘he goes alright’,” Thorn recalled.
“We all know his story, for him to get this opportunity, he values that and he just wants to repay that.
“That maturity at No.10 is a good thing for guys like Isaac (Lucas, who O’Connor has replaced at No.10) to continue to develop.”
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