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McKenzie hasn't forgotten O'Connor

25th June 2014 18:54

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In the frame: James O'Connor

Exiled back James O'Connor is still very much in Australia coach Ewen McKenzie's thoughts ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup.

O'Connor has had a successful stint with London Irish in the Aviva Premiership and will now link up with Toulon for the start of next season, before returning to Australia to play Super Rugby.

The Reds have been heavily linked with the 24-year-old playmaker, who has previously turned out for the Force and Rebels.

Speaking after a 3-0 series win over France, McKenzie had plenty of praise for O'Connor and stated that they had kept in touch.

"He has got X-factor. He can make things happen in attack. He is a very tidy player," said McKenzie.

"He can do all the fundamentals of the game and he is a very good goal-kicker. He is a pretty complete player and very experienced.

"He's got 40-something tests at his young age. If he keeps the same rate of progress he will easily go over the 100 mark. That's the challenge. He has to resurrect all that.

"We have kept in touch. I'm not closing the door on him at all. He wasn't giving us what we needed.

"He has gone away and is trying to right his wrongs and change his life a bit.

"The conversations I've had he has certainly expressed interest in coming back. It is not going to surprise me if he comes back but it is up to him to organise it."

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