James O'Connor
Position Utility Back
Date of birth 5 July 1990
Height 180cm
Weight 97kg
Debut 2008 v Italy, Padova
Caps 44

Biography

A schoolboy prodigy, one who could have played for Australia (place of birth), New Zealand (parents) or South Africa (maternal grandparents), O’Connor earned 44 Wallaby caps by the age of 23 before his international career seemingly came to an abrupt end. Born in Queensland, but raised in the early part of his life in New Zealand, O’Connor was one of a long list of Wallabies to have graduated from Nudgee College, Brisbane. A back of phenomenal skill and extreme versatility, O’Connor won selection in Queensland's 2007 champion schools side and then Australian Schools. O'Connor became the youngest Super Rugby debutant in history when he ran out for the Western Force. Later that year, and with only a handful of Super Rugby caps to his name, he was picked in the Wallabies’ Spring Tour squad. He made his Test debut - at just 18 years and 126 days - as a replacement against Italy in Padova. At the time O’Connor had the rugby world at his feet. A succession of well-publicised off-field incidents soon overwhelmed O’Connor’s deeds on the rugby pitch, culminating in the then-ARU's decision to release him from his contract. O’Connor spent the next two years in Europe, firstly with London Irish and then Toulon. In 2015 O’Connor returned to Australia, playing for the Reds, but that stint was cut short and he returned to Europe. He moved on from France and joined English club Sale ahead of the 2017-18 season before working on plans to return to Australia once more.

HIGHLIGHTS

2007

Selected in the Australian Schools squad for Tests against England U18s and New Zealand Schools.

2007/08

Represented Australia in the IRB Sevens World Series.

2008

O’Connor won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Adam Ashley-Cooper at fullback in the 30-20 victory over Italy in Padova.

2009

O’Connor earned his first run-on Test cap and scored his first Test try when selected at fullback in the 1st Test, 31-8 victory over Italy in Canberra. He won 13 caps, seven of which came as a starting No.15,  from a possible 14 internationals.

2010

He missed the opening Test of the season against Fiji but went on to secure caps in 13 of the final 14 Tests, ten of them as starting right wing. In the season’s final Test O’Connor scored an Australian record 29 points against the French and became the 20th Wallaby to score 100 or more Test points.

2011

O’Connor earned a further 10 Test caps throughout the season, one in which he finished as the team’s highest points scorer (89).

2012

A hamstring injury originally suffered during the Super Rugby season saw O’Connor miss the entire international season.

2013

Despite having never played No.10 at international level O’Connor was chosen at flyhalf for each of the three British & Irish Lions Tests. His final four Test caps were won during the Rugby Championship. O'Connor's time as a Test player appeared to be over when he was refused entry onto a flight in Perth under the influence of alcohol. His contract was terminated later that year.

Rugby World Cup 2020 season

Points 0
Carries 28
Metres 70
Kicks In Play 2
Successful Tackles 9
Missed Tackles 5
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