Rugby Australia and the St.George Queensland Reds today confirmed that Sale Sharks player, James O’Connor will re-join his native state of Queensland for the 2020 season of Vodafone Super Rugby on a two-and-a-half year deal.
O’Connor last played for the Qantas Wallabies in 2013, before making the move to play in Europe and now returns in time to be considered for Australia’s squad for the 2019 Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup campaign.
The move will see O’Connor to return to his home city of Brisbane and join a promising young Queensland Reds backline including Hamish Stewart, Isaac Lucas, Tate McDermott and Jock Campbell.
O’Connor was the second youngest player to debut in the Qantas Wallabies jersey when he made his debut in 2008 against Italy in Padua.
James O’Connor said: “Firstly, I just want to say how grateful I am to be given this opportunity again. There’s been a lot of work put in behind the scenes and a lot of guys have shown faith in me so all I’m focusing on right now is putting my best foot forward.
“I have a bigger ‘why’ now and that is what fuels me. In saying that, I’m excited to be back here. Even at 29, I’m still learning and we’re really pushing each other. It’s been an intense hit the last few weeks, but I think I’m in a lot better place physically.
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“I’m a Queenslander. I was born there. I started playing Rugby there. It’s where the dream began. I think a big part as well is that I owe Queensland the best version of myself. I came back last time and I wasn’t in the best place mentally, but also physically I was quite broken, so I couldn’t produce and perform the Rugby I wanted to for the team.
“I’m finally ready to return and make amends. I want to do right by the team and the fans, and I intend to deliver the very best of my energy. If I can help the team get back to the top of the sport and if we can bring success back to Queensland, that would be a dream for me.”