Australian James O’Connor is looking forward to playing for Australia again soon.
The 26 year old has been developing his trade for the past few seasons in Europe playing for London Irish and then Toulon but have been struggling with injuries. He has a few things behind his name when it comes to rugby with the youngest player to debut at Super Rugby for Australia at the age of 17 and the youngest test player in history for the Wallabies.
Unfortunately for him all the good came with some bad as well through his young career on and off the field.
O’Connor is unwavering in his statement of intent when asked whether a return home would be on the cards.
“One hundred per cent I see myself playing back in Australia – when is the question,” he told the Australian Rugby Union’s official website.
“For the time being, I’m enjoying rugby here and there’s still a lot I want to improve on and learn but Australia’s home and that’s where I want to be playing my rugby.”
O’Connor says the sliding doors moments and ‘What if’ questions about his Test career still haunt him in some ways.
“That’s kept me up a lot,” added the 26-year-old.
“That’s the big question – it’d be good if there was a win-win in some sort of way but there’s always sacrifices to do the things you want to be doing.”
“For me, I saw a path in my mind and one that I saw was pretty clear of how I wanted to achieve my goals and how I could move forward as a player and as a person and I think hopefully I’m doing that.
“I guess the goal’s always to wear that gold jersey again so to be able to pull that on would be pretty amazing.”
While an Australian return might be on the horizon for O’Connor, a taker might not be immediately obvious and the back says he’s willing to make sure he’s ready this time after early career controversies and that injury-hampered campaign at Ballymore in 2015.
“I’ve made it pretty clear that my goal has always been to be playing for the Wallabies and playing for Australia but it was the right stage of my life I feel that I wanted to come over and experience something new and just really take a step back to be able to go forward.”
While he has been in France, he has watched former Western Force teammate Dane Haylett-Petty make his mark as a mature-aged rookie for the Wallabies at 27, a journey that might be somewhat of an inspiration to O’Connor.
“We grew up – came through the Force together for many years,” he said.
“When he moved over to France, I was trying to keep him in Oz, keep him at the Force but he did great ,went over to Biarritz, played in a few finals and now he’s come back and you see what he’s doing.”
“He’s really developed as a player and I think he’s been one of the Wallabies’ best.
“He’s been attacking well. It’s all about mindset and where you want to go and making the sacrifices and if it means that much to you it’s not a sacrifice, it’s going to happen.
“If you want something bad enough, I believe when you do the right things it’ll come true.”
O’Connor will be back in Queensland next week for the Brisbane Tens but only time will now tell as to whether O’Connor’s desire is enough to make his Wallabies dream materialise once again.