Brumbies leave door open for O'Connor - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies leave door open for O'Connor

By Karlis Salna 16/06/2009 03:00:53 PM Comments (0)

The Brumbies are holding an outside back spot open in the hope of signing rising Wallabies star James O'Connor.

While the Western Force remain the favourites to snare the signature of the teenage Test fullback, the Brumbies have made it clear they have not given up on O'Connor.

The Brumbies cannot match what is understood to be a massive third-party offer for O'Connor to stay in Perth, but what they can give him is a spot in a backline boasting a number of key Wallabies.

With Test five-eighth Matt Giteau having signed with the Brumbies for 2010, joining fellow Wallabies in captain and outside centre Stirling Mortlock and utility Adam Ashley-Cooper, the Canberra side already has an imposing backline.

O'Connor relished playing outside Giteau in the Wallabies clash with Italy on Saturday night, picking up three tries in the 31-8 win.

The Force are yet to sign a quality five-eighth for next season with the latest out of the west a suggestion that former Springbok Andre Pretorius could sign this week.

O'Connor has said he won't be making a decision on his future until after he knows who is calling the shots in the Force backline.

The Brumbies announced on Tuesday they had signed flankers Mitchell Chapman and Henry Vanderglas for 2010, taking their squad to 29 players and leaving an outside back spot as the only position left to fill.

While having previously indicated they were out of the race to sign O'Connor, the word out of Canberra suggests he remains firmly in their sights.

Brumbies forwards coach Owen Finegan said the side was happy to wait for O'Connor to make up his mind.

"We'll wait and see ... he'll make a decision in time," Finegan said.

"We've left that rest and we'll leave that to him and see what decision is made."

And in typical Finegan form, the former Wallaby was full of mirth when asked if he was privy to details of talks between the Brumbies and O'Connor when the teenager was in Canberra for the Italy match.

"I don't talk to many of the backs really, it's a habit I've been into for a long time," he joked.

"I'm sure Matt Giteau would have had a word to him, and Stirling Mortlock, but I wasn't privy to that."

Chapman has re-signed for two years while Vanderglas has signed on a one-year rookie deal.

Flanker Julian Salvi has departed the Brumbies after executing an option in his contract following the signing of Wallaby Rocky Elsom.

"It puts us at 29," Finegan said. "There's one left and it will probably be an outside back and that will be Friendy's (coach Andy Friend's) choice."

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