O'Connor set for Oz No 10

2012-03-14 12:22
James O'Connor (Gallo)
Johannesburg - If the Wallabies want to pick him at flyhalf, James O'Connor is confident he can measure up as Australia's rugby playmaker.

The Melbourne Rebels utility back starred at flyhalf in Quade Cooper's absence in the Wallabies' win over Wales in December.

Queenslander Cooper's decision this week to delay his comeback from the knee injury he suffered at last year's World Cup could mean he isn't ready for the start of the Wallabies' 2012 campaign in June.

But while he believes Cooper will be ready for Australia's next Test match against Scotland in Newcastle on June 5, O'Connor says he is happy to step in at No.10 if asked.

"If that opportunity comes up, I'll definitely put my hand up for it," O'Connor said on Wednesday.

"It all depends - I don't know how far away Quade is. I saw him on the weekend and he's in pretty high spirits.

"I love to be involved (with the added action at flyhalf).   love that spot."

The Wallabies' golden boy said he was enjoying his Super Rugby switch to the Rebels, who showed promising signs in last weekend's 11-6 loss to the Reds in which they pushed the competition champions.

O'Connor says there's no reason the Rebels can't become regular winners this season, starting with Sunday's home clash with the Cheetahs.

With the 2011 wooden spooners beefed up by his recruitment and that of fellow Wallaby back Kurtley Beale, the task in their second season is to iron out consistency issues and start to string wins together.

"We're a quality side - we've got some good players all around the board," O'Connor said.

"I'm settling in well and there's a great vibe around the place.

"This is one of the tightest units I've been involved in and there's no reason we shouldn't be gelling and shouldn't win games.

"It was a positive last week. Now we've got to take the next step."

The Rebels only won three games in their debut Super Rugby season last year.

But their huge effort against the Reds means they are likely to start favourites to beat the Cheetahs, who are also winless this Super Rugby season.

Read more on:    james o'connor

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