Wallabies and Reds lock in their MVP
NEWS: Rugby Australia and the Queensland Rugby Union announced the re-signing of flyhalf James O’Connor through to the end of 2023.
The 30-year-old has re-signed for the next two seasons, that will see him remain at Ballymore and in Australian Rugby until the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
O’Connor was appointed stand-in captain of the Queensland Reds after a pre-season injury to Liam Wright and helped lead the side to the Super Rugby AU title taking out the fan-voted season MVP award in the process.
Following time in Europe and the United Kingdom, O’Connor returned home to Queensland in 2019 ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
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Wallabies flyhalf James O’Connor said: “Queensland is my home. I was born here. I love this State, I love pulling on the maroon jersey, and this is where I want to finish my career.
“We have a great team now and I think we are going to do some special things. I’m excited to be part of it and to help take them forward.
“I came back with the intention to play for my country again and to prove to myself that I could take what I learned from overseas off-the-field and flourish in this environment.
“I truly feel that we have the group of coaches and players to take Australian Rugby back to the top and I want to be part of that more than anything.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity I was given and like I said when I arrived back, I put my service to this country and the Wallaby jersey above all,” O’Connor said.
Rugby Australia Director of Rugby Scott Johnson said: “It’s been a pleasure to have James back in Australian Rugby. I said at the time that he had matured immensely while overseas, and I think we have all seen that over the last two years.
“James will be the first to say though that the work isn’t done. We have a number of things to achieve in Australian Rugby in the coming years, and James’ experience will be invaluable to both the Reds and the Wallabies.
“James also recognises the role he has as a mentor to our next generation too – and that may prove to his greatest legacy,” Johnson said.
Reds GM – Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “We are pleased that James has committed his future to the Reds and Wallabies.
“He has demonstrated again this year that he is the best flyhalf in the country. We look forward to seeing his continual support for the club through to 2023,” Cordingley said.