Rugby

O'Connor quits Toulon for Oz

2014-12-27 19:00
James O'Connor (Getty Images)

Toulon - Australia back James O'Connor says he will leave Toulon after Sunday's Top 14 clash against Stade Francais after "a great six months" with the French champions.

The 24-year-old is heading home to join the Reds in a bid to boost his chances of being selected for the Wallabies' 2015 World Cup squad.

"I've picked up so many things from my time here," he said on Saturday.

"I've learnt a great deal from this team. Playing with top players gives you confidence.

"There's a real culture of winning here, I'm sure the boys are going to win the Top 14 and the European Champions Cup."

Explaining his decision to return home he added: "I'm going back to Australia in the hope of fulfilling a dream: to play in the World Cup.

"I will do everything to earn my selection, first of all in the Super 15, then with the national team."

O'Connor was dropped by Australia in September 2013 in the wake of an incident at Perth airport that reportedly saw him escorted from the premises for arguing with airline staff.

The then Australia coach Ewen McKenzie declared that O'Connor would have to "modify (his) behaviour" if he wanted to resurrect his international career.

The player noted: "I didn't leave on good terms. I've got things to prove to my country."

O'Connor has turned out 10 times for Toulon, scoring four tries with a total of 59 points.

Reflecting on his Top 14 spell he said: "I've grown up. I've really developed my game, especially in attack, in learning how to make good decisions. I understand rugby better now."

He quits Toulon meanwhile with fond memories of his half year in France.

"I love the way of life in France, the culture and their style of living suits me perfectly.

"I reckon it's the ideal place for me to better express myself both on and off the pitch."

Read more on:    reds  |  toulon  |  super 15  |  james o'connor  |  rugby
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