One Percenters: How O'Connor nearly joined NRL's Storm as Friend reportedly reunites with Brumbies

Fri, Feb 23, 2024, 4:54 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Reds flyhalf James O'Connor, scrumhalf Kalani Thomas and coach Brad Thorn share memories from last year's final at Suncorp Stadium.

With all the different teams playing across the world doing media, it can be hard to keep on top of a lot of the stories coming out.

Rugby is filled with them across all levels of the game and whilst most are covered through some form of media, there are others that might have slipped off the radar as the Wallabies doco and the Rebels situation dominates discussions.

Don't miss Super Round 2024 in Melbourne from March 1-3. Get your tickets now! 

One Percenters returns for 2024 and looks at everything you might have missed from the past week of Rugby.

'I was 50/50': O'Connor reveals NRL, Chiefs links

Reds flyhalf James O'Connor has revealed how close he was to switching codes in 2013 and joining NRL powerhouse Melbourne Storm.

O'Connor delivered a frank and honest discussion on Jimmy Marshall's What A Lad Podcast about his career, including his discussions with the Storm after leaving the Rebels 11 years ago.

“When I left in 2013, I was 50/50 in regards to going to either (London) Irish or the Storm for a couple of years," he said.

“There was a spot opened up at six (after Gareth Widdop left) and they still have Cronk, Slater, Smith. That’s probably the ‘what if’ for me because I grew up playing league since I was five and it was my main game until I was 15."

He also shed further light on his links to the Chiefs, stating "It was during the COVID period (of 2021) where they put contracts on hold...and we got pretty close to go over for a season It was something I was excited to try because I really wanted to learn the Kiwi style of Rugby and how they read the play and momentum."

Harris, Donaldson's unique bond

Western Force recruits Will Harris and Ben Donaldson will continue their special connection as they prepare for tonight's game.

The housemates made their Australia U20s World Championship and Super Rugby Pacific debuts together in 2019 and 2020, adding to the special connection with their Force debuts on Friday.

The NSW duo have settled in nicely with good mate and new Force captain Jeremy Williams, with Harris quick to remind him of his place.

“Me and Donno both made it very clear to him when he got named captain, that was just here; he’s still bottom of the barrel at home,” Harris said.

Friend returns to Brumbies

Andy Friend will reportedly end a 13 year absence from the ACT Brumbies, returning as a technical advisor for the Brumbies Super W team

Friend will lend his assistance to Super W coach Scott Fava according to The Riotact, returning after he was axed as Super Rugby coach in 2011.

“It’s not tough to be back in a Brumbies jersey...It’s always been my home club. It has always been the team I admired most in Super Rugby, and it’s nice to be back," he said.

“It has been really good; it’s been fantastic. A couple of the players who were around at the time came up to chat with me and offer their apologies for what happened back then. My response is that it wasn’t their fault; it’s just what happened, and life moves on.”

Social post of the week 

French Rugby player Loic Godener showcased the toughness of the sport when he revealed more than he bargained for when removing his mouthguard.

The Oyonnax backrower was captured struggling to take it out before showing the lost teeth that appeared to remain in his mouthguard.

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