Report: James O'Connor could be set for imminent return to Europe
Wallabies utility back James O’Connor could be on his way back to European rugby, with reports in France suggesting the one-time rugby prodigy is on the shopping list of a major French club.
According to Midi Olympique, Stade Toulouse are interested in signing O’Connor as a medical joker going into 2021.
While he has said he wants to play 10, he has yet to completely nail down the positon in the green and gold under the new regime of Dave Rennie. Reece Hodge, who is four years his junior, looks to be Rennie’s preferred choice as Rugby Australia wait on the development of their current batch of talented options at standoff.
The 20-year-old has already played plenty of rugby in Europe, with various stints at Toulon, Sale Sharks and London Irish in recent years.
O’Connor returned to Australia in 2019, signing a two and a half year deal with Rugby Australia and the Queensland Reds, having not played for the Wallabies since 2013.
He was the second-youngest player to debut in the Wallabies jersey when he played in 2008 against Italy in Padua.
The St Joseph’s Nudgee College product became the youngest-ever Super Rugby debutant at age 17, when he came off the bench for the Western Force against the Reds in 2008.
He played four seasons with the Perth-based club and then signed a two-year deal with the Melbourne Rebels in 2012, before heading overseas to European Rugby in 2013.
O’Connor played 14 games with English Premiership side London Irish and then signed with French rugby powerhouse Toulon the following year.
He returned to Australia with the Reds in 2015, before leaving for Europe at season’s end with a grand total of 551 Super Rugby points across 71 career games.
O’Connor played another season of Top 14 French Rugby with Toulon and then moved to the north of England with Sale Sharks.
During the past two seasons at Sale, O’Connor scored three tries in 31 matches for the club – including 25 games of English Premiership Rugby.
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