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O'Connor eyes midfield role


James O'Connor

James O'Connor

James O'Connor

Young Australia international James O'Connor has expressed his desire to shift closer to the action in the absence of injured playmaker Quade Cooper.

Cooper will miss at least six months of rugby after it was confirmed he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the World Cup bronze final win over Wales on Friday. His absence will force Robbie Deans to reshuffle his midfield for the Wallabies' upcoming fixtures against the Barbarians on November 26 and Wales on December 3.

And O'Connor, who has been used primarily on the right wing at Test level this season, is eyeing a move to the midfield, saying: "It's no secret I want to play 12. I want to get closer to the action and get my hands on the ball."

With Pat McCabe in major doubt due to a shoulder injury, Anthony Fainga'a and Rob Horne are both strong candidates for the inside centre role.

But O'Connor remains hopeful Deans can be persuaded to give him a chance at second receiver.

"For me it's all about the team - if we're winning, as long as we're getting a few touches and I guess doing what I can going forward as much as possible," said the 21-year-old.

"I'm pretty happy to have that goal-kicking role. It keeps me involved in the game as much as possible.

"Every Test in the jersey means a lot. For me it's about developing my game. No matter what happens, I guess I'll be putting my hand up for one of those inside jobs."

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