New face joins Wallabies World Cup selectors panel
NEWS: Australia’s search for a third Wallabies selector ahead of the World Cup appears to be over.
According to Fox Sports former dual international Michael O’Connor is set to receive the job.
O’Connor, who spent two years as Wallabies selector from 2006-07, is expected to be offered the job to assist head coach Michael Cheika and new director of rugby Scott Johnson in selecting the Wallabies in 2019 after declaring his interest in the role on Monday.
“I’d be interested,” he told foxsports.com.au.
“I’d be mad not to. I’ve got the time to do it. It’s a role that you need to have time and watch a lot of rugby, so I’m in a position where I could do it — there’s no problem there.”
Sources have since confirmed O’Connor’s appointment following Rugby Australia’s monthly board meeting, according to Fox Sports.
The independent selector and director of rugby positions were created by Rugby Australia in December after the national governing body undertook an extensive review of the Wallabies following their worst international season in 60 years.
The 2015 World Cup runners-up finished 2018 with just four wins from 13 outings, seeing them plummet to an all-time low of seventh on the World Rugby rankings.
Cheika survived being culled from his job, but had his power over the side reduced as it was announced that Johnson would complete his role as director of Scottish rugby to take up the newly-created position of director of Australian rugby in an attempt to steer Australia to a successful World Cup campaign later this year.
The implementation of an independent selector was also announced at the same time, although no candidate was announced to fill the role until now.
O’Connor played 12 tests for the Wallabies between 1979-82, before switching codes to rugby league and playing 18 tests for the Kangaroos from 1985-90.
In addition to having previously been a Wallabies selector, O’Connor was the Australian sevens coach for seven years, while also working as a talent identification manager for two decades.