AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL JAMES O’Connor will join Toulon next season, according to French sports newspaper L’Équipe.
The 23-year-old is currently on a short-term contract with London Irish, where he has started four Premiership games at fullback. The controversial but talented back was stood down from the Wallabies squad in September following an incident at Perth Airport.
L’Équipe claims the move is a “certainty, even if the duration of the contract is not yet known.” O’Connor was indeed photographed in Toulon at the beginning of November, just days after originally joining London Irish. It now seems that alleged meeting with club president Mourad Boudjellal was a success.
Amusingly, the article in L’Équipe says O’Connor “seems fifteen years old, but is actually 23.” While the remark is tongue-in-cheek, it does point to the issues the gifted Aussie has had with apparent immaturity in recent times. It is understood that none of the franchises in Australia were interested in the 44-times capped back for personality reasons.
O’Connor is undoubtedly an excellent player at his best, and his attacking talents will add another element to Toulon’s back play, if this move is officially confirmed. Boudjellal has intentions of injecting more youth into what is an aging squad on the Mediterranean coast, and O’Connor would certainly represent a move in that direction.
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