O’Connor set for homecoming Test against Pumas
James OConnor is set to don an Australian jersey for the first time in six years when the Wallabies tackle Argentina on Saturday.
O'Connor flew into Brisbane with the Wallabies on Monday night and could be named in the Test side to play the Pumas at Suncorp Stadium, capping a fairytale return for a player almost universally maligned when he played his last Test in 2013.
Coach Michael Cheika was coy about his selection plans when quizzed at Brisbane Airport on Monday but confirmed some changes were possible as he and the selectors hone their squad make up in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup.
"Therell be a few more opportunities, based on what we think tomorrow with the selectors," Cheika said.
"Maybe some guys will get an opportunity. We might try to keep some pairings together, well just see how it pans out."
If the Wallabies are serious about using the 44-Test utility back – as a two-and-a-half-year nationally topped-up contract suggests they are – time is running out to test him in the furnace of Test rugby.
Saturday's Rugby Championship clash is the last before the Wallabies face back-to-back Bledisloe Cup Tests against New Zealand, and it makes sense to give O'Connor a chance to show his wares before the cauldron of an All Blacks match.
A super-sub role could be on the cards, especially if selectors change up the back three after last week's loss against the Springboks.
Cheika said he was happy with O'Connor's progress but was still forming an opinion on the best way to use the newly inked Reds back.
"Hes been with us, hes training really well, hes reintegrated really well, and he wouldnt be with us if we didnt want to give him a chance at some stage. Its a question of when we decided to do that whether its this week or in the coming weeks," Cheika said.
"He can play multiple positions so that gives him a plus without a doubt around where he can play in any side, whether hes a finisher or in the starting team and in the squad as a whole.
"Im not going to nail down anything for him just quite yet. Its the first time Ive ever coached him so Im still discovering what he can bring as well."
The Wallabies will be boosted by a number of returning faces, including second row Adam Coleman, winger Marika Koroibete, prop Scott Sio and back Christian Leali'ifano.
Veteran hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has also flown home from the UK to link up with the squad after undergoing treatment on a foot injury.
Cheika said front rowers Jordan Uelese and James Slipper had also pulled up well after concussions at Ellis Park, but would have to clear a series of further return to play protocols as the weRead More – Source