James O’Connor was AWOL from Wallabies announcement: Here’s why

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By , 19 Aug 2011

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    James O'Connor - AAP Image

    ROAR EXCLUSIVE: James O’Connor was the only absentee from Thursday’s Wallabies Rugby World Cup squad announcement. The official line was that he was absent due to personal reasons. He hasn’t yet explained his whereabouts to the ARU.

    The Roar understands that on the evening of the most important moment this year in the lead-up to the Wallabies’ quest to win the Rugby World Cup, and with less than a month until the campaign begins, O’Connor was out drinking into the early hours with a fellow Wallaby.

    The next morning O’Connor, we understand, could not be contacted by Wallaby team management, and despite numourous attempts to contact him, he failed to attend the team announcement.

    O’Connor, we understand, has yet to explain where he was that night and why he did not turn-up with the rest of his team mates on the morning of the announcement.

    He has yet to explain why he could not be contacted, despite being in a Wallaby camp.

    Earlier this evening, The Roar contacted the ARU for comment.

    The ARU response was that they have requested O’Connor explain his actions and, until they have received a response from O’Connor, they cannot comment further.

    The Roar also understands O’Connor was drinking with a fellow Wallaby. The player in question however, who has form in this department, turned up to the event as required.

    In June 2009, O’Connor, Quade Cooper and Josh Valentine were fined several thousand dollars by the ARU for “engaging in a food fight” at a Wallabies team hotel. No details were revealed by the ARU at the time, nor was it confirmed if the action were serious.

    O’Connor was the youngest Super 14 debutant, at 17 years and 303 days, and at the end of the 2011 Super Rugby season O’Connor signed a two year contract with the Melbourne Rebels.

    More news as we receive it.

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