O'Connor and All Black arrested for cocaine possession

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by AAP & Beth Newman

Former All Black Ali Williams and Australian international James O'Connor were arrested in Paris Saturday in possession of cocaine, police said.

The pair, currently playing for French clubs Racing 92 and Toulon respectively, were allegedly stopped at around 3:00 am (0200 GMT) outside a night club near the Champs Elysees and allegedly found to be in possession of two grams (0.07 ounces) of cocaine, police added.

O'Connor's manager David Shand said he was 'aware of the allegations' towards O'Connor but not willing to make any further comment at this stage.

Racing released a statement saying Williams, 35, had been suspended indefinitely but Toulon said they would wait before deciding whether to discipline O'Connor.

According to police the two men were allegedly arrested while in the act of buying cocaine from two suspected drug dealers. Plain clothes officers saw Williams in a car with the two suspects while O'Connor was outside and appeared to be acting as a lookout, police said.

When they were challenged, Williams attempted to get rid of the cocaine by throwing it away, added the police source who said the two players had clearly been drinking.

The two players are being held at a police station in the 17th district.

The suspected drug dealers were also detained and police said 180 euros had changed hands in the transaction.

Mourad Boudjellal is one of the more colourful owners in the Top 14. Photo: AFPToulon president Mourad Boudjellal told AFP "no decision would be taken" until he had spoken to O'Connor.

"I won't speak to him on Saturday. It does seem as though there has been wrongdoing," Boudjellal said.

"But even when you kill someone you still have a hearing first. That is how it must be."

In contrast, Racing 92 said that Williams had been suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of the police investigation.

"If the investigation confirms the possession of cocaine and the transaction, that would not only be an offence as regards the law but also a  serious fault in terms of the club's ethics," a Racing statement said.

The 44-Test Wallabies back was recently back in Australia, playing for Toulon in the Brisbane Tens, and spoke of his desire to return to play in Australia, with the Wallabies a goal he has not shied away from.

“I've come back, I feel like I'm a new beast, better player,” he told reporters at the time.

“No one teaches you how to deal with certain things once you become a professional athlete so early.

“So, for me, it was just about finding that love for the game again and just enjoying myself and the finer things in life.”

O'Connor has not played for an Australian Super Rugby team since playing a season at the Reds in 2015, with a Wallabies jersey last coming in 2013.

He first opted to head overseas after a 2013 incident in Perth Airport, where the then-23-year-old was removed from the airport by Australian Federal Police, when he was set to board a flight after a Wallabies win over Argentina.

That followed his release from the Melbourne Rebels, the second Super Rugby franchise he played for, after switching from the Force.

Toulon does not play this weekend, the Top 14 on a break due to the Six Nations, but they are set to take on Brive on March 5 AEDT.