Reds to confirm signing of James O'Connor

Last updated 13:29 24/08/2014
James O'Connor
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HE'S BACK: Reports are saying James O'Connor is set to sign on with the Reds.

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The Queensland Reds will confirm the worst kept secret in rugby on Friday night when Wallabies' prodigal son James O'Connor is announced as their new signing.

News Corp is reporting that the Reds will announce that O'Connor has signed a two-year deal at its Gala Ball in Brisbane.

O'Connor had his 44-Test career put on hold last year after the Australian Rugby Union tore up his contract after the 24-year-old was escorted off a flight to Bali by Australian Federal Police at Perth Airport.

He has since enjoyed a sixth-month stint at London Irish in the English Premiership before signing a short-term deal with European champions Toulon in the French Top 14 competition.

Despite playing every position in the Australian backline except halfback, O'Connor is viewed as a winger by Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.

The return of O'Connor, and the impending availability of Brumbies winger Henry Speight, will boost the Wallabies outside backs stocks in the lead-up to the World Cup next year in England.

With the decision to play Wallabies vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper at outside centre and the loss of Western Force winger Nick Cummins to Japanese Rugby, McKenzie has been forced to select stop-gap wingers Rob Horne and Pat McCabe in the opening two Bledisloe Cup tests against New Zealand.

O'Connor, alongside Kurtley Beale and fellow Queenslander Quade Cooper, was part of a trio known in rugby circles as the Three Amigos.

The trio had a long list of disciplinary issues with the ARU and O'Connor had previously served a one-match ban for missing the squad announcement for the 2011 World Cup after sleeping in.

He was pictured at 3am with Beale at a Hungry Jacks restaurant in Melbourne in the lead-up to the Second Test against the British and Irish Lions last year.

After the final Test against the Lions in Sydney, it was reported that O'Connor missed the team breakfast which the players understood would be the last with then Wallabies coach Robbie Deans who was removed from his post two days later.

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- Fairfax Media

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