The Wallabies are set to roll the dice with former bad boy James O’Connor as they juggle World Cup aspirations with Bledisloe Cup glory against the All Blacks.
With the team named Thursday morning, O’Connor is set to play outside centre for their clash with New Zealand in Perth on Saturday night, in his first start in six years.
With the Wallabies struggling to convert dominant possession and opportunities into points in their Rugby Championship clashes with South Africa and Argentina, coach Michael Cheika has decided to bring another ball-player into his backline to replace outside centre Tevita Kuridrani.
Grand slam-winning captain Andrew Slack, who is a former Wallabies selector, told AAP that O’Connor needed a chance to prove himself for World Cup selection after only getting 10 minutes off the bench in the Wallabies win over Argentina in Brisbane.
He said that O’Connor should even be a considered as an option at five-eighth, should Christian Lealiifano or Bernard Foley not rise to the occasion ahead of the World Cup.
“I certainly think O’Connor should play a role in the game,” Slack told AAP.
“I don’t think they’d go for O’Connor at 10 although that’s what he was originally and should nothing show up with Christian or Bernard playing particularly well in the few games we’ve got, he may be worth a punt at 10.”
Now 29, Connor became the second youngest Wallaby in Australian rugby history at age 18, but his promising career went off track after alcohol and drug indiscretions.