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Exile: James O'Connor signs with London Irish until end of season

The 23-year-old will give Brian Smith plenty of back-line options between now and May.
Oct 29th 2013, 10:33 AM 2,761 3

LONDON IRISH HAVE this morning confirmed the news the rugby world has been expecting, the signing of Australia’s tarnished golden boy James O’Connor.

The 44-Test Wallaby could make his Premiership debut against Northampton this weekend after signing a short-term deal until the end of the season.

Last month the Australian Rugby Union opted not to give O’Connor a new central contract, ensuring he would not be involved in the November tour of Europe.

Last week, Western Force confirmed they’re discussions with O’Connor had broken down and that their former player would be plying his trade in Europe this season.

A utility back with a an assured goal-kicking record, O’Connor will undoubtedly provide competition for Ian Humphreys and Shane Geraghty at number 10 for the Exiles.

However, he has shown himself to be more comfortable in the back three and could form a dangerous attacking threat from fullback with Topsy Ojo and Sailosi Tagicakibau on the wings either side of him.

In the club statement, O’Connor acknowledged that he had also sounded out possibilities in France and Japan before settling with the Premiership strugglers.


“Having decided that I needed a change from both a personal and playing point of view,” said O’Connor. “I spoke to clubs in Japan and France, and concluded that the best way forward for my development was to move to England.

“Given that I’ve left my support network back in Australia, London Irish offered me an environment that I felt comfortable with. The club is renowned as a welcoming, family club throughout the world, it has a highly regarded Australian Director of Rugby in Brian Smith and plays a style of rugby that appeals to me.

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