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The Emirates Western Force’s discussions with James O’Connor on a possible return to the club in 2014 have come to an end following his decision to take up a playing opportunity in Europe.
The Force had been in talks with O’Connor with the possibility of the utility back returning to the club in accordance with the non-negotiable standards and values the club has worked hard to put in place.
Following the Australian Rugby Union’s decision to not offer him a contract in 2014, the Force encouraged him to take time away from rugby to consider his playing future and to assess if he felt his development would be best achieved in Australian rugby.
“We have been informed by James directly that he intends to continue his playing career in Europe for the time being, The Western Force and RugbyWA wish him well in these endeavours,” RugbyWA CEO Mark Sinderberry said.
“The Western Force has laid strong foundations of standards and values – particularly around earning respect – and our discussions with James included on- and off-field programs that we believed could assist him in becoming the player he aspires to be and to develop himself as a person.
“James has made the decision that is right for him at this point in his playing career and the club remains open to recommencing these discussions again in the future if James wishes to return to Australian rugby.”
The Western Force return to NIB Stadium for the second time this season and the Honey Badger wants sea of blue fans to “get your carcass on the chair”! In 2014 the Force had a slow start to the season, before finishing off strongly, and they will be hoping for a repeat after winning just one of their opening four matches this season!
The Queensland Reds are struggling with injury and form at present, and they’ve been handed another massive blow this weekend with James O’Connor (leg) & Lachie Turner (concussion) being ruled out. Suffering a 23-5 loss to the NSW Waratahs on the weekend, the Reds will run onto Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night looking to turn their season around after just one win to their name in the opening four rounds coming against the Western Force two weeks ago!