Force CEO confirms O'Connor to remain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Force CEO confirms O'Connor to remain

By Justin Chadwick 29/07/2009 08:33:39 PM Comments (0)

Western Force chief executive Vern Reid expects teen sensation James O'Connor to sign a new two-year deal with the Super 14 franchise "very soon".

O'Connor, who knocked back offers from the ACT Brumbies, NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds, has agreed to remain with the Force but can't put pen to paper until he finalises his contract with the Australian Rugby Union.

The 19-year-old has featured regularly for the Wallabies this season and is shaping as a key player for Australia in their bid to win the 2011 World Cup.

Reid said he was hopeful O'Connor would re-sign with the Force in the coming weeks.

"James has committed to the Western Force but our contracts are a three-way contract between the club, the player and the ARU... and the final details are being worked out and we trust that will happen very, very soon," Reid said.

Force coach John Mitchell also confirmed O'Connor would be with the Force until at least the end of 2011.

"His major issue is just with the ARU," Mitchell said.

"There's some elements within his contract that needs to be sorted out in that area but certainly he's with us for the 2010, 2011 seasons."

While the Force have lost the services of Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Scott Staniforth and Josh Valentine, Mitchell was quietly confident about the squad he had assembled for the upcoming season.

Former Springboks flyhalf Andre Pretorius, Matt Dunning, Brett Sheehan, Nic Henderson and Tim Fairbrother have arrived to bolster the Force's playing stocks.

"It's been a really good period for us," Mitchell said.

"Naturally players have come off contract and we've been very fortunate to strengthen certain areas within the group.

"We've become even more experienced up front, we've brought more experience into the backline through the acquisition of Andre Pretorius, who's been an international.

"He'll bring further strength to us after the loss of Matt.

"Collectively, we've got a group who'll be far more experienced."

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