James O’Connor’s redemptive arc of Queensland Reds return will reach new heights this Saturday if he can guide his team to glory in the AU Super Rugby Grand Final against the Brumbies.
After an acrimonious exit from the Reds and Australian rugby in 2015, O’Connor’s return to Ballymore has largely been about proving his worth in his home state.
With a new outlook on life, O’Connor has spoken at length about his determination to write happier chapters in his Reds’ history upon his return.
It took two years for Harry Wilson and Fraser McReight to quit club rugby
Ending his first Australian campaign with a trophy would be a triumph that most Hollywood screenwriters would rejoice in.
“My mind is set on getting the job done,” O’Connor said.
“Obviously the Brumbies were at the top of the table, they’re a great team and they were probably the fit team. We know what we have to do and we want to go out there and just finish.
“… There was a lot of unfinished business before I came back this year. So that means a lot to us and to me in particular.
Having started the year in various background roles, the 30-year-old is now firmly established as the Reds’ five-eighth.
The 52-test player has been of use throughout his career, but believes he has found a home in the No.10 shirt, a position confirmed by Wallabies coach Dave Rennie hinted earlier this month- This will be O’Connor’s role for Australia later this year. .
“The first two games I was very nervous because I hadn’t played 10 in a long time and didn’t feel like I had a full game to get there,” O’Connor said, admitting that it wasn’t until the Reds played the South African franchise from the Bulls in April and it has regained its marks.
“The Bulls are sort of when my mindset changed, and I started playing at 10, instead of 12 in 10.
“The fact that we’re sort of in the final and have the ability to lift the trophy in a few days – we’re here and we’re excited.
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