Giteau backs transformed O’Connor

Date published: November 11 2014

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James O’Connor is a reformed man according to Toulon teammate Matt Giteau, who has tipped the back to earn a Wallaby recall.

James O’Connor is a reformed man according to Toulon teammate Matt Giteau, who has tipped the threequarter to earn a Wallaby recall.

The enigmatic 24-year-old left Australia last year after having his contract with the ARU torn up for a succession of off-field incidents.

He spent a season with London Irish before joining Toulon over the off-season, and Giteau has been hugely impressed with his new teammate.

The stint with the French champions will last until January when he will return to Australia in a bid to crack the Wallaby World Cup squad.

“Myself and Drew (Mitchell) were probably the first guys to say ‘I don’t know if we should sign him’ because of the guy he was when we left Australia,” Giteau told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“But he’s a totally different guy, he’s been phenomenal. He trains hard and honestly he’s been really good.

“He’s got to do all the right things to get himself in the best position for the World Cup squad, he’s a huge talent and a great player. I think he’s developed as a person.

“I think he’d be similar to myself and when you’re caught in that bubble, you get caught in your own self-importance a bit too much.

“Once you get out, you realise it’s just rugby. He’s certainly developed as a person, he’s relaxed and integrated into the team brilliantly.

“The attention will be back on him in Australia (so) he’s got to go in and suck it up.”

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