Wallabies superstar James O’Connor is reportedly looking to ditch Super Rugby AU for Super Rugby Aotearoa despite having more than a year remaining on his Rugby Australia and Queensland Reds contract.
A report in the New Zealand Herald claimed the fly-half had met with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie to tell him he wanted to join the Chiefs – Rennie’s former team – in 2021.
O’Connor signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Rugby Australia and the Reds in July 2019 but COVID-19 has changed the rugby landscape dramatically, with respective Australian and New Zealand competitions forming due to travel restrictions.
The 62-Test veteran reportedly wants to link with the Chiefs out of a desire to test his capabilities in a more challenging competition.
But a move to the Chiefs could put an end to O’Connor’s rejuvenated Wallabies career because Rennie’s preference is to not use the Giteau Law and instead select players competing in Australian domestic rugby.
O’Connor last year departed English rugby club the Sale Sharks for the Reds because he hadn’t reached the Giteau Law’s 60-game threshold and wanted to represent Australia in the 2019 World Cup.
O’Connor’s parents are from New Zealand and he holds a NZ passport.
Whether he competes in the 2023 World Cup, to be hosted by France, is now hard to predict.
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