Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

O'Connor: Winning kick just normal

James O'Connor

Australia hero James O'Connor insisted his last-gasp conversion was "just like every other kick" after the winger pulled his side back from the brink of defeat to edge out New Zealand 26-24 at Hong Kong Stadium.

Trailing by five points when the final hooter was sounded, the Wallabies were staring at an 11th consecutive loss to their bitter rivals but they kept the ball alive and O'Connor crashed over the line from close in to level the Bledisloe Cup encounter. And with victory resting on the last kick of the game, O'Connor stepped up to nervelessly slot the conversion through the posts.

"To be honest, I've tried to put myself in that situation a lot in training," he said. "Robbie (Deans, coach) has said plenty of times 'this is the last kick to win the game' and I think that's the only one I've hit, so I'm pretty happy about it."

He added: "The team were all pumping me up, giving me the confidence. I'd done all the training I needed, I just went through my motions, my little triggers I've been working on, and it was just like every other kick.

"I blocked everything out in my head and just focused on the kick. When I looked up I was happy enough to see it go through the posts."

Deans had no doubt O'Connor - a surprise inclusion in the squad when Australia faced New Zealand in Hong Kong two years ago - would kick them to victory.

"To be honest, I was actually very confident," he said.

"James is one of those blokes who wants the ball in those moments as you saw with his carry. It's what you want, it's a great indicator."

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