O'Connor on the road to redemption

12th Aug 2013, 11:01

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Moving on: James O'Connor

Moving on: James O'Connor

James O'Connor concedes he has made mistakes this year but is working hard to win back the respect of his team-mates.

James O'Connor concedes he has made mistakes this year but is working hard to win back the respect of his team-mates.

The Wallaby hit the headlines for the wrong reasons during June's Test series against the Lions when he was photographed at a fast-food outlet three days before the second Test and then missed a team bus to the deciding clash.

This coupled with an indifferent run of form and a release from his Super Rugby franchise, the Melbourne Rebels, has left the former teenage prodigy struggling.

However, O'Connor says he's working hard ahead of the Rugby Championship and is doing what he can to turn things around.

"If I could go back I definitely would change situations and things that happened but I guess the reality is I can't," he said.

"All I can do is just take the advice I've been given and just knuckle down and work hard."

The 23-year-old reveals that new coach Ewen McKenzie has laid out what he expects from each member of the squad and that he has embraced this new beginning.

"When we came in Ewen (McKenzie) made it pretty clear, the standards, and what we had to do if we wanted to be a Wallaby and keep on playing and pulling on that gold jersey," he said.

"And for me personally that's all I want to do so there is definitely things that I already have changed and am in the process of doing.

"I guess they're sort of personal things and it's not an easy process - it's just about moving forward and the end goal is I want to keep playing and just be out on that field."

O'Connor turned out in the number ten jersey during the Lions series with mixed results, and he now looks set to return to the outside backs - a move that has not come as a surprise.

"We had a face-to-face sit-down and chatted about it. We talked through a lot of things and that was one of them," he explained.

"I've been in that position before, I've played a lot of different positions and I've spent most of my time at Test football out wider.

"So I guess looking at the Lions series, we weren't successful there, so it wasn't too big a shock."