British & Irish Lions 2013

O'Connor wants pivotal Wallaby role

Mon, 15 Apr 2013 18:38
James-o_connor-rebels-v-bru Quade-cooper-v-james-o_conn Joc-and-beale-630
It's where I feel most comfortable
Quote-end

Melbourne Rebels star James O'Connor has expressed his desire to fill the Wallaby flyhalf berth in the upcoming series against the British and Irish Lions.

Settling on who will don the pivotal No.10 jersey is arguably coach Robbie Deans’s biggest selection poser ahead of the three-Test series in June.

Incumbent Kurtley Beale has been suspended for off-field issues while outspoken Reds playmaker Quade Cooper has a well documented chequered relationship with Deans.

Utility back O’Connor said he feels most comfortable at flyhalf and believes competition for the No.10 jersey will only be to the benefit of Australian rugby.

"The more we can push each other to get those starting positions to make the team better - it's going to be big trouble for the Lions," O'Connor told Sportal.

"I've played 10 in that ball-playing role since I started playing rugby, even back to my league days.

"It's sort of second nature - it's where I feel most comfortable.

"The more I play 10 for the Rebels, the easier the transition is going to be to the Wallabies, if I'm selected there."

O'Connor said he has discussed the situation with Deans.

"My conversation with Robbie is he likes me in that 10 position and also on the wing," he said. "I feel very comfortable in both those positions.

"I've got to work my way into the team first - it's not a given. I've been out for a year and there are other guys who are playing some great footy as well, so there's a lot to be done and a lot of form to be hit first."

O’Connor added that he has kept in contact with Beale, who he said is doing well.

"I've been speaking to Kurtley a fair bit - he's in a good head space," he said.

"He's training hard and from all accounts he's looking pretty fit. He said he's going to give me a run for my money in my skin folds."

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