Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

O'Connor set for London Irish

London Irish are expected to announce the signing of Australia star James O'Connor on Tuesday.

London Irish are expected to announce the signing of Australia star James O'Connor on Tuesday.

The Aviva Premiership side have called a press conference for 10am to announce a "significant player signing", with O'Connor thought to be the man in question.

The 23-year-old also posted on his Twitter feed: "London bound for a few months to play some rugby, can't wait.. see you soon Aus! Thanks for all the support guys - appreciated".

O'Connor was regarded as one of the brightest talents in Australian rugby, and made his Wallabies debut as an 18-year-old in 2008.

He has added a further 43 caps to his tally with his footballing ability seeing him fielded at fly-half, centre, wing and full-back.

He played at number 10 during Australia's 2-1 Test series defeat against the British & Irish Lions in the summer, scoring a try in the Wallabies' third Test defeat.

However, his off-field behaviour saw him ditched by the Australian Rugby Union last month after an incident at Perth airport where O'Connor was reportedly escorted from the premises after arguing with airline staff.

Australia coach Ewen McKenzie insisted the decision did not close the door on O'Connor's Test career, but admitted the player has to "modify behaviour".

Four days prior to the second Test of the Lions series O'Connor and team-mate Kurtley Beale were photographed at a fast-food restaurant in Melbourne at 4am in the morning, while the utility back had previously missed buses to training and team meetings.

In 2011 he received a one-game ban for missing Australia's World Cup squad announcement.

Speaking after Sunday's Premiership defeat at Newcastle, Exiles director of rugby Brian Smith had said of O'Connor: "He's a world-class player, he's a terrific kid and I'm sure that will all be unveiled at the front end of this week.

''Any team in England or in France would be lucky to have him.

''I would imagine in the next 24 or 48 hours he will play his cards and all will be revealed.''