Planet Rugby

O'Connor back to Australia in 2015

05th January 2014 08:27


james oconnor london irish

World-class: James O'Connor

London Irish full-back James O'Connor will return to Australia to play in Super Rugby in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

The 23-year-old is contracted with Irish until the end of the 2013-2014 season, but Exiles boss Brian Smith has confirmed that O'Connor will return to Super Rugby in January 2015.

That leaves O'Connor without a contract from June this year until 2015, with plenty of interest in the Wallaby coming from teams in France and Japan.

Smith added that Irish would love to keep O'Connor until he returns to Australia, but admitted that financially the club could not compete with teams in the Top 14.

"He's a world-class player and should be playing for his country," said Smith.

"He'll go back to Australia in January 2015 to put his hand up for a Wallabies Test place.

"We have him until the end of the season but we'll be really fortunate if we can have him after that. There is massive money in Japan and France, who are throwing ridiculous money at players.

"French clubs are paying double and can blow you out of the water."

O'Connor scored all of Irish's 22 points, including the game's only try, in their win over Worcester on Saturday that moves the Exiles 14 points clear of relegation.

"We had a plan to obtain territory and squeeze them with our driving game," added Smith.

"We left six points out there before the interval but Wayne Barnes was accurate in penalising their offences against our driving maul and we were rewarded."

"Topsy Ojo didn't touch the ball at all as it was our plan just to have our half-backs and James O'Connor kicking the ball."

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