Monday 23 July 2018

Exiles welcome O'Connor

Press Association

James O'Connor is determined to take his shot at redemption after admitting he needed to leave Australia to begin rehabilitation from his latest lapse in judgment.

London Irish unveiled the prodigiously talented but controversial Wallaby yesterday, with director of rugby Brian Smith describing him as the "most significant signing" in the club's 115-year history.

The Exiles, struggling near the foot of the Aviva Premiership, have recruited the versatile 23-year-old veteran of 44 Tests, who has his best days in front of him, but he arrives with plenty of personal baggage.

The Australian Rugby Union terminated his contract last month after he was banned from boarding a flight from Perth Airport to Bali for being drunk and escorted from the terminal for arguing with airline staff.

It was the latest in a string of disciplinary issues that have pursued a player who made his Test debut at 18, but he views the Madejski Stadium as the perfect place to start rebuilding.

O'Connor, who could make his debut in Sunday's home match against Northampton, has an Irish grandfather called Maurice, and stated that he sees his future at full-back.

Irish Independent

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