O'Connor finds new rugby home

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

James O'Connor has found a new rugby home, signing with UK club Sale for three years.

O'Connor has been playing with Toulon, but after being charged with cocaine possession earlier this season, owner Mourad Boudjellal was open about his reluctance to offer him a new contact.

The Sharks are O'Connor's third club in as many years, after a short-lived stint with the Reds in 2015 ended in a return to Toulon

The capped Wallaby was open in February about a desire to return home, but this latest deal all but snuffs out that possibility, set to take him to 29. 

O'Connor recently underwent foot surgery, but is expected to be back in action early next season.

 The 26-year-old joins Springboks' Faf de Klerk and Scotland's Josh Strauss as capped internationals who are set to join Sale.

James O'Connor has been charged with cocaine possession. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleySharks director of rugby Steve Diamond said on the club's website that they were excited by the back's potential.

"We are delighted that James O'Connor will be joining us," he said.

"He is a world class versatile back that will add a lot to our game.

"He is the type of player that alongside a group of incredibly talented home grown lads, will help us a club to push on and achieve the vision of our owners Simon Orange and Ged Mason.

"He has great feet, and an unbelievable running and kicking game which will threaten any opposition.

"What is exciting about James O'Connor is his potential. He was capped for Australia 44 times by the age of 23 and even now at only 26, he has played in the English Premiership, French Top 14, Super 15 and at international level.

"He has a lot of experience and is keen to show his international calibre. We are all pleased he has chosen to do this at Sale Sharks."