O'Connor, Pocock to link up with Wallabies in South Africa

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

James O'Connor will train with the Wallabies for the second week in a row, set to travel to South Africa to link up with the national squad.

O'Connor will head to Johannesburg this week to train with the Wallabies after Marika Koroibete remained in Melbourne for the birth of his second child.

The 44-Test utility is not an official part of the squad, needing a Super Rugby deal to be eligible to play for the Wallabies, but will join the group as a train-on member.

The 29-year-old is understood to be close to confirming a Super Rugby deal, an arrangement that would make him eligible for a Test return.

O'Connor was released from the final season of his contract with English club Sale last week, opening the door for him to make an Australian comeback.

Queensland is believed to be O'Connor's most likely destination and an official announcement could come sometime this week with negotiations ongoing.

Marika Koroibete is staying in Australia for the birth of his second child. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyShould that fall into place, O'Connor would be available immediately and could theoretically play for the Wallabies against the Springboks on July 21, though that seems unlikely.

Koroibete's wife is expecting their second child and the Rebels winger requested to stay with her until the baby arrives.

The speedster is expected to link up with the squad later in the week, still more than a week out from their first Rugby Championship Test against the Springboks in Johannesburg.

“Marika (Koroibete) should join us later in the week, but mother nature is in charge here, so until then it’s a good opportunity for James to integrate into the team playing principles," Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said.

O'Connor won't be the only addition to the group partway through this week with injured backrower David Pocock also travelling to Johannesburg.

Pocock was not included in the Wallabies' 34-man squad for the South Africa Test as he continues to work his way back from a calf injury.

“For David, we really want to do some specific rehab work with him and it’s just better to have him with us at this stage to ensure we get his return to play exactly right."

The Wallabies take on the Springboks at Ellis Park, Johannesburg on July 20 local time, Sunday July 21, 1:05am AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Kayo Sports.