Log in

'It wasn't my best': Fully-fit O'Connor motivated to impress against England

Thu, 16/06/2022, 6:21 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has spoken after announcing his 35-man squad for the upcoming England Series.

Wallabies flyhalf James O'Connor is embracing the flyhalf competition as the build to England begins.

The Wallabies entered camp on the Sunshine Coast on Thursday, with the Brumbies contingency set to join them in the coming days.

Don't miss out! Purchase your tickets for the Wallabies' three-Test series against England

With the first Test just over two weeks away on July 2 in Perth, one of the key selection battles looms at flyhalf with O'Connor battling it out with Quade Cooper and Noah Lolesio.

After missing the end of the Super Rugby Pacific with a hamstring injury, the 31-year-old is back to full training and keen to make his mark.

“I’m fully fit,” O’Connor told reporters.

“I’ve been in training camps for the past two weeks and I was just a smidgen off competing in that quarter-final against the Crusaders.

“It’s frustrating to miss the last couple of games but I’m back, fit and ready to go.”

The Reds playmaker started the final three games of the 2021 International season, including a 32-15 defeat to England.

“To be honest, it wasn’t my best tour,” O’Connor reflects.

“I just found it was probably a little difficult to get into the game. Whether that was just how we were playing as a group and also myself, I was just a bit too deep and preparing for conditions that didn’t actually come, it was very quick over there and we were thinking it was going to be more wet weather footy.

“Leading into Test matches, you want to be prepared and physically there so you put your stamp on the game. I definitely feel like I’m in that place now. I missed a bit of Super Rugby Pacific and to be on my way is good, hitting my benchmarks now discussed with the coaches so now it’s about putting it on the field.”

Whilst 2022 has seen a rise in competitiveness at the Super Rugby level, O'Connor believes a similar lift against a English side that has won the last seven encounters won't come without hard work over the next two weeks.

“We definitely saw an improvement all across the board in Australian Rugby. I still think it’s a different kettle of fish,” he added.

“Once you are getting 5-10 players from each franchise and bringing it together, it’s definitely a step up.

“I don’t think you can draw too many conclusions from our performances in Super (Rugby Pacific). I think it’s about how we get together as a group and how well we perform the game plan because everyone’s coming in and we have two weeks to prepare with a fresh calling sheet and new players to connect with.”

Johnson-Holmes, May suffer setbacks as Wallabies and England prepare for first Test
Looking back at Australia's First Test 123 years on
123 years on: Looking back at the first ever Wallabies Test
Wallabies to play England for new Ella-Mobbs Cup
Lolesio unfazed by semi-final heartbreak in pursuit of Wallabies return