O'Connor signs deal with Force and ARU - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

O'Connor signs deal with Force and ARU

By Justin Chadwick 04/09/2009 05:06:07 PM Comments (0)

James O'Connor's dazzling footwork will be on display at the Western Force for at least two more Super 14 seasons after the teen sensation finally came to terms with the Australian Rugby Union.

O'Connor had verbally committed to a two-year extension with the Force months ago but couldn't put pen to paper until he signed a new deal with the ARU.

After months of negotiations, O'Connor and the ARU finally agreed to terms on Friday, with the 19-year-old signing on until the end of 2011, taking him through to the World Cup in New Zealand.

The Brumbies, Waratahs and Reds all made desperate bids to lure O'Connor away from the Force but couldn't match the big-money on offer in Perth.

"We have a young group which is going to thrive," O'Connor said.

"We have young Wallabies like David Pocock, Pek Cowan, Richard Brown and myself who will bring back a lot of what we've learned this season.

"Another big factor for me was that going forward with the Force I want to jump into more of a leadership role.

"I want to get more involved in the team dynamics and play a bigger role within the team."

O'Connor was just 18 years and 126 days old when he made his debut for the Wallabies last November, becoming the second youngest debutant in Australia's 110-year history.

He has already established himself in the national set-up and will start at fullback in Saturday's Tri-Nations clash with South Africa in Brisbane.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said he was excited at what lay ahead for O'Connor, who played mostly at inside centre for the Force but is touted as a future star at five-eighth.

"James is certainly a talent and will continue to improve in the years ahead," Deans said.

"For such a young player he has already come a significantly long way.

"However, he knows the journey has only just begun.

"There are plenty of exciting challenges awaiting him in the future."

Force rugby manager Mitch Hardy said the retention of O'Connor was a "crucial piece of the puzzle" in the WA franchise's bid to become a powerhouse in the competition.

The Force had already lost star backs Matt Giteau (Brumbies) and Drew Mitchell (NSW) for 2010.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news