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O'Connor relishing challenge

New Zealand have banned the photographer who took a shot of a sheet of team tactics being held by coach Graham Henry at training from their remaining sessions.

The picture, which appeared in several Australian newspapers on Wednesday, showed a series of back-line moves that the All Blacks hoped to use to target Matt Giteau and James O'Connor during Saturday's eagerly anticipated Bledisloe Cup clash against the Wallabies in Melbourne.

But Australia winger O'Connor was keen to play down the furore, and said: "I actually saw it a little bit on twitter so I had a look, you couldn't zoom in close enough though. I'm more focused on our team's preparation and my preparation leading into the game."

O'Connor, who has featured almost exclusively at full-back in his previous 18 Tests, added of his positional switch: "The way I play at 15 I'm playing pretty similar now that I'm playing wing. I'm just getting involved and running around. I enjoyed it last week and I think that was one of my favourite games I've played this year."

Meanwhile, O'Connor doesn't expect the slippery Etihad Stadium surface to have a major bearing on the match. Teams in the AFL had threatened to boycott games at the stadium over the state of the pitch.

But O'Connor said: "I don't think it (the surface) will play too much of a role but we will be wearing tags (metal studs) and I assume the All Blacks will as well.

"I know personally I'll be wearing long tags (studs)."


From Belfast Telegraph