Rugby

Australia's hero - O'Connor

2010-10-31 16:15
James O'Connor (AFP)

Sydney - Youngster James O'Connor was acclaimed as Australia's rugby hero by the press on Sunday after his last-gasp try conversion broke a 10-match losing run against the All Blacks in Hong Kong.

O'Connor, 20, scored the match-levelling try and then kicked the winning conversion for the Wallabies to clinch a 26-24 win over New Zealand on Saturday.

It ended a demoralising 26-month trans-Tasman drought and renewed belief that the Wallabies may yet be a title threat at next year's World Cup in New Zealand.

The Sun Herald said the Wallabies appeared headed for their 11th straight loss to the All Blacks but showed "incredible heart" in the final quarter to level the scores at 24-24 after the final bell.

"If that was not inspirational enough, O'Connor then showed - like Kurtley Beale (against the Springboks) in Bloemfontein - he can handle the big moment, converting his kick from near the sideline to inspire wild scenes of jubilation among the Wallabies," it said.

The Sunday Telegraph joined in the praise for O'Connor, declaring: "a star is born."

"Having come so close in Sydney last month, the Wallabies' win over the world No1 side will not only go down one as one of the classic victories but also offers concrete proof heading into a World Cup year that Robbie Deans' men are serious title contenders," it said.

Former Wallabies' hooker Brendan Cannon said the Wallabies proved they have the attack and the heart to beat anyone.

"And with some improvements in defence, they just might," Cannon said in the Sunday Telegraph.

"Because if their come-from-behind victory against the All Blacks confirmed one thing to me, it's that Australia has the team and the coach to win the World Cup.

"(But) don't worry, there's still a lot to do before then."

Read more on:    james o'connor  |  wallabies  |  all blacks
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