O'Connor close to deciding Super future - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

O'Connor close to deciding Super future

By Adrian Warren 31/05/2009 07:52:53 PM Comments (0)

Hot property James O'Connor says he's "pretty close" to deciding his future as he prepares to try to cement a position as the Wallabies fullback.

The Western Force utility back is keen to discard that tag and nail down the No.15 spot heading into the Wallabies 2009 program, which starts next Saturday against the Barbarians in Sydney.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said on Sunday that 18-year-old O'Connor's first opportunity this year will come at fullback, where he made his sole Test appearance against Italy last year.

With most if not all of the Australian Super franchises vying for his signature, O'Connor suggested his decision was imminent.

"I had a week off and spent time with my family on the Gold Coast pondering the decision, so it's getting close," O'Connor said on Sunday.

While the gifted teenager should be able to command a large salary, O'Connor said his decision would be one based on rugby.

"Where I am going to be developed best, I want to play in the (2011) Rugby World Cup, wherever I think I'm going to improve most and keep learning that will be the deciding factor," O'Connor said.

While the Force had used him primarily at inside centre this year, O'Connor said he had played a fair bit in defence at fullback during the recently concluded Super campaign.

"The way I play at 15, or like to play at 15, is pretty much how I play at inside centre, just come in as that second ball player and just getting involved as much as possible," O'Connor said.

"I think hopefully the transition won't be too hard if I'm given a run at fullback.

"I don't want to get myself involved in that role as a utility. I guess it's good for being selected in teams, but I really want to seal a position soon and have a crack at that and see how I go."

O'Connor said he was looking to join a club in the Sydney competition so he would have somewhere to play if not selected for Australia.

He didn't rule out remaining with the Force even though speculation has suggested he would definitely leave the Perth-based franchise.

"I'm enjoying it at the Force, I love it over there and I love the lifestyle.

"I've seen so much development in myself as a rugby player, so I definitely won't be ruling them out," O'Connor said.

One potential home for O'Connor is the Brumbies, where fellow Force team-mate Josh Valentine and Matt Giteau are headed.

Asked whether he would be speaking to O'Connor about joining the Canberra-based side, Brumbies stalwart and Wallabies skipper Stirling Mortlock joked "that could be number one on my list of things to do".

"I think Matty Giteau has already been doing that for us," he said.

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