Wallabies-and-Boks combo excites O'Connor

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 21:24
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Australia utility back James O’Connor admits he is hugely excited at the prospect of linking up for Sale Sharks alongside fellow newcomer South Africa scrumhalf Francois De Klerk.

South African scrumhalf De Klerk has made a huge impact on the Premiership over the first month of the campaign since his season move to Sale, producing a series of man-of-the-match displays for the club.

O’Connor, whose recovery from summer surgery on his ankle means he has yet to make his bow for Sale, has looked on in admiration along with everyone else as De Klerk had adapted to life in England in superb fashion.

And, ahead of Friday’s Premiership home game with Gloucester the Australian play-maker, who moved to Sale on a three-year deal from Toulon in the summer, says he is hugely excited about the thought of dovetailing with Faf.

"Faf's a very talented guy and a real character as well,” said James. "I think the biggest thing for me thinking about playing as a 10 alongside Faf is that he controls the game beautifully.

"South African scrumhalves are some of the best in the world.

"They are very chirpy and control the guys around the field very well and the beautiful thing is that Faf obviously listens to the game plan - if he sees something, he can take that opportunity.

"He’s got the speed and the footwork, he’s got the passing game and as we saw against Newcastle and Irish, he’s got the kick too to be able to find space and really dominate the game,"

O’Connor has had to be patient over the first few weeks of the campaign as he regained full fitness after undergoing ankle surgery over the summer.

But having got some crucial work under his belt on and off the training field over the past fortnight, the 27-year-old says he is eager to make up for lost time.

"The fact that I was injured when I arrived here is a bit like what the French say: ‘C’est la vie. It’s life and is a part of rugby," James added.

"There are positive moments and there are negatives too.

"If you’re enjoying yourself and throwing yourself into training and being part of the group which I’ve done here, it’s a great vibe.

"There is so much going on both on the field and away from the pitch in the team activity room and everyone is keen to head out for a tea or coffee.

"So it’s keeping my mind ticked over and I’m not frustrated at all. I’ve been training with the team over the past week or so and I felt pretty good so I’m looking forward to getting out there and trying to help the team,"

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 10 8 0 2 40
Gloucester 10 7 0 3 32
Saracens 10 6 0 4 31
Bath 10 6 0 4 30
Wasps 10 6 0 4 29
Leicester Tigers 10 6 0 4 28
Harlequins 10 5 0 5 24
Newcastle Falcons 10 5 0 5 24
Sale Sharks 10 4 0 6 23
Northampton Saints 10 4 0 6 22
Worcester Warriors 10 2 0 8 14
London Irish 10 1 0 9 8