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O’Connor excited by Perth return as Wallabies embrace ‘amazing’ England series

Fri, 17/06/2022, 12:14 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 hoping to replicate some of the Perth magic from 2019 as they look to kick start their preparations for the 2023 World Cup.

Optus Stadium will always be a special place for the 31-year-old, the sight of his incredible comeback in Wallabies colours and the largest win over the All Blacks in Bledisloe history.

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

After returning to Australian soil with a World Cup on his mind, O'Connor was thrust into the starting side after coming off the bench against Argentina, ending a six-year drought between Tests.

During that time, the playmaker had gone through several clubs and a rollercoaster of ups and downs, eventually returning home from Sale with redemption on his mind.

On one of the biggest stages, O'Connor produced one of his finest performances to guide the Wallabies to a 47-26 Test win at the newly-built stadium.

The 61,241 in attendance remains a ground record with O'Connor hoping a similar crowd can help get the side over the line, having missed last year's defeat to the Kiwis.

“I think it’s going to be great,” O’Connor told reporters.

“The last Test match I played over there was against the All Blacks in 2019 and it’s probably one of my favourites I’ve ever been involved with to date, mostly from my point of view because of the comeback there and my first start back with the Wallabies.

“There's a passionate crowd over there and it’s good weather over there so they are going to put it on for us.”

The three-Test series against England looms at a pivotal point for the Wallabies, with the World Cup slowly emerging on the horizon.

It begins a 14-Test calendar against tier-one nations, with hooker Dave Porecki excited to test himself against Eddie Jones' men.

“It’s an incredibly exciting series isn’t it?” Porecki believes.

“It’s going to be amazing playing England three times, it’s a great tour for them as well to come over to Australia. There’s a bit of buzz around the series.”

Porecki knows better than most the threats they possess.

The hooker plied his trade with Saracens and London Irish before returning to the Waratahs, eventually earning a maiden Wallabies call-up.

Whilst any talk of switching allegiances never crossed his mind, Porecki understands what to expect and the incredible quality and depth within the Premiership.

“The style of England is based on the foundations of footy which is your set-piece," he explained They’ve got an incredible hard work ethic, especially kick-chase and you’ve seen that in the media and what Dave’s said about their kicking game and set-piece game but the pool of players is something that is most interesting.

“When I was over there, you’d see Eddie would pick people out of club, have a look at them at training camp and they’d go back play ten games and see how they go and develop.

“They’ve got a good system there and a massive group of players that are really fringe England players ready to go at a moment's notice and once they get it, they’re really hungry so it’s going to be a great series.

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