Force still waiting on James O'Connor - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Force still waiting on James O'Connor

By Justin Chadwick 09/06/2011 05:11:53 PM Comments (0)

Western Force chief executive Vern Reid hopes James O'Connor will re-sign with the Perth-based Super Rugby franchise by the end of the week.

O'Connor is seemingly certain to stay at the Force next season, with his management already telling Australia's other Super Rugby sides that he won't be coming their way.

However, the 20-year-old can't sign on with the Force until his Australian Rugby Union contract is finalised, which could drag on into next week.

Reid said although the Force were confident of keeping O'Connor, he wouldn't rest easy until the deal was completed.

"He's within his rights to draw it out, but we'd have liked to have had it done within 24 hours," Reid said ahead of Saturday night's clash with Queensland in Perth.

"We are hopeful that we can conclude an arrangement with James. It's not concluded yet and my understanding is neither is his ARU contract.

"So we are in a state of limbo and the situation for the Western Force and James O'Connor going forward still has some distance to go.

"I'm pleased where we are, but equally if there are issues that are yet to be resolved, then the market would be open and the game would be back on.

"I hope we can conclude this in the next few days, but I can't say it's done yet by any stretch."

Reid refused to comment on the length of the deal - which is understood to be a one-year extension - but said O'Connor's presence in 2012 would be a huge boost to the franchise's finals hopes.

"James is an important part of the team. It's the culmination of the last six years that we now are gathering a team of extremely good players," Reid said.

"I think you've noticed in the past few weeks that once we have our full squad in place, then we can be a contender in this competition.

"So for James and for a few other players we're looking at for season 2012, we're obviously hoping to keep moving up the ladder."

Reid said O'Connor's influence off the field was just as important as his on-field tricks.

"He has a brand, if you like, that is appealing," Reid said.

"He is a good looking young man, he is a very good athlete, he is very civil, very friendly and he plays the social media network so he has a lot of following.

"So he's good for us, no doubt."

O'Connor, who was named at fullback against the Reds, missed training on Thursday after flying interstate on Wednesday to attend a funeral.

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