Red-emption for JOC v2

Sun, 14/02/2021, 02:20 am
Murray Wenzel - AAP
by Murray Wenzel - AAP
O'Connor has come full circle. Photo: Getty Images

James O'Connor will serve as the Queensland Reds' interim captain this Super Rugby AU season in the latest endorsement of the reformed Wallabies bad boy.

The playmaker received a raucous round of applause from teammates when the appointment was announced internally after training on Friday.

The Reds confirmed 30-year-old O'Connor's appointment on Sunday, in the lead-up to Friday's season opener against the NSW Waratahs in Brisbane.

Pre-register for Stan Sport now to watch every minute of Super Rugby AU. The new add-on Sport package is available for just $10 a month with customers able to get a 30-day free trial for a limited time only.

He will stand in for injured skipper Liam Wright, who is hopeful of returning for finals but will miss the bulk of the 10-week home and away season with an ankle injury.

It continues a dramatic rise from rugby oblivion for O'Connor, who debuted for the Wallabies as an 18-year-old but twice left Super Rugby for Europe amid drug and alcohol-related mishaps.

Two nights in a Paris jail cell in 2017 proved the line in the sand for the Gold Coast product, who sought a return to Australia and has since re-established himself with the Wallabies and proved his leadership credentials under disciplinarian Reds coach Brad Thorn.

Former All Blacks forward Thorn watched in begrudging admiration as then-teenager O'Connor calmly slotted a conversion of his own try after the siren to beat New Zealand in Hong Kong 11 years ago.

JONNY WATCHING NRL: England winger hailed for brilliant try

WALES GO BACK-TO-BACK: But not without controversy

REDS YEAR?: Will their 10-year title drought be over in 2021?

He no sooner had his Rugby Australia contract torn up, while another brief stint with the Reds in 2015 ended in acrimony.

But, six years on, O'Connor will lead a young side boasting a smattering of emerging Wallabies expected to push for a title.

Feleti Kaitu'u is refusing to be intimidated by his Kiwi counterparts Photo: Getty Images
Western Force refusing to back down against Kiwi opponents
The Rebels will be looking to feed Marika Koroibete the ball throughout Super Rugby Trans-Tasman | Getty Images
Rebels out to utilise Koroibete strengths
The Wallaroos have announced that they will face off with Samoa in a two-test series
Wallaroos announce two-test series with Samoa
Will Harrison is set to return for the Waratahs ahead of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman. Photo: Getty Images
Waratahs taking aggressive approach into Trans-Tasman as reinforcements emerge Logo

The are a proud part of Rugby AU

© 2021 Australian Rugby. All rights reserved.