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

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    James O'Connor

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    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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    The Crowd Says (84)

    • August 19th 2011 @ 9:12pm
      Westius said | August 19th 2011 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

      This can’t be good for his “rugby brand”…

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      • August 19th 2011 @ 9:17pm
        AdamS said | August 19th 2011 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

        were you ever 21 Westius?

        • August 20th 2011 @ 5:54am
          Kuruki said | August 20th 2011 @ 5:54am | ! Report

          He can be 21 all he want’s he only needs to let the ARU know so they can terminate his contract and wish him all the best.

        • August 20th 2011 @ 7:49am
          westius said | August 20th 2011 @ 7:49am | ! Report

          er yes, for the last 11 years…

          “rugby brand” refers to what he came out saying was why he moved from the Force:

          • August 20th 2011 @ 8:24am
            gusbrisbane said | August 20th 2011 @ 8:24am | ! Report

            Good call westius about his ‘brand’. It was the first thing I thought of yesterdary when I heard the news.

          • August 20th 2011 @ 12:03pm
            sheek said | August 20th 2011 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

            James O’Connor is a talented & exciting young rugby player. He will be even better when/if he realises that the team is more important than the individual.

            I’m not sure if the Rebels are getting a bonus, or a hindrance. O’Connor better wise up quickly that while he is an outstanding talent, he is still part of a team structure.

            Beale, Cooper & Genia, the other Wallabies “hotshots” , seem to have come to understand this. So now O’Connor should get the message also.

            Of course, when you talk yourself up about being a “rugby brand”, you make yourself a big target for when you stray off the straight & narrow. Frankly, O’Connor’s not indispensable…..

            • August 21st 2011 @ 9:06am
              ilikedahoodoogurusingha said | August 21st 2011 @ 9:06am | ! Report

              According to reports this morning, maybe we should leave Beale off that list now……

      • August 20th 2011 @ 10:17am
        Frank O'Keeffe said | August 20th 2011 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        You beat me to it. I was going to make a quip about his “rugby brand”.

    • August 19th 2011 @ 9:22pm
      p.Tah said | August 19th 2011 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

      He and Danny will get on well at the Rebels then…

    • Roar Guru

      August 19th 2011 @ 9:25pm
      niwdEyaJ said | August 19th 2011 @ 9:25pm | ! Report

      oh… this can’t be good for preparations – media will have a field day with this – an unwanted distraction right now. maybe if he stopped drinking for the next few months he’ll be able to kick straight!

    • August 19th 2011 @ 9:27pm
      Ian Whitchurch said | August 19th 2011 @ 9:27pm | ! Report

      It was a squad announcement. Please tell me why I should care.

      If he’d hit someone, pissed on someone, pissed on something, forced himself on someone, bought, sold or used performance-enhancing drugs, then Im concerned.

      If he’d missed training, suspend him.

      If he missed a match, drop him.

      But he went out for a couple of beers, and managed not to get arrested … so leave it alone.

      • August 20th 2011 @ 7:23am
        Shahsan said | August 20th 2011 @ 7:23am | ! Report

        The best teams have very strict cultures that do not tolerate breaches of discipline or protocol. Yes, sounds stuffy and precious but that has been the common factor of all the best teams, all things being equal. It’s the broken windows theory in action, teh “critical non-essentials”..

    • Roar Pro

      August 19th 2011 @ 9:31pm
      itsuckstobeyou said | August 19th 2011 @ 9:31pm | ! Report


      21 year old gets drunk and sleeps through alarm – Misses wanky work function.

      Who gives a toss.

      • August 20th 2011 @ 12:00am
        apaway said | August 20th 2011 @ 12:00am | ! Report

        Probably the tosser who made the wanky comment about improving his rugby brand when the ARU gets all high and mighty and suspends him or something. But yes, it’s a bit rich…

        • August 20th 2011 @ 5:57am
          Kuruki said | August 20th 2011 @ 5:57am | ! Report

          Not really. You’d expect heading into the biggest Rugby stage on the planet, that the only focus at the moment would be rugby. If there was something more important at the pub then the naming of the World cup squad, maybe he should quit rugby and become a bartender.

          • August 20th 2011 @ 11:48am
            Mike Oxsaw said | August 20th 2011 @ 11:48am | ! Report

            All true, but is it news worthy?

            • August 20th 2011 @ 12:06pm
              Kuruki said | August 20th 2011 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

              Of course it is especially because it is going to cost him his spot in the side for the clincher of the 2011 Tri Nations. He also missed the official Australian world cup team photo which id say is important to alot of people who will have it hanging on their wall for the rest of their lives.

              • August 20th 2011 @ 1:27pm
                Mike Oxsaw said | August 20th 2011 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

                Would it cost him his spot if media agencies didn’t publish this rubbish? No.

                It’s all well and good to say “we can publish this because he will miss a game”. But what is actually happening is the media and the people, like you, who want sport to be a soap opera, are forcing sporting organizations into suspending players for making mistakes like regular humans, or risk further wrath from the media.

                He needs a clip over the ear from his captain and to be told that if he wants respect from his team-mates, that is not the way to go about it.

                As we saw with QC, he needs encouragement and guidance from some old heads. Admonishment not punishment.

              • August 20th 2011 @ 1:49pm
                p.Tah said | August 20th 2011 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

                Good post Mike. I agree.

                To be honest I was surprised The Roar published this ‘exclusive’. The moderators want to uphold a standard on comments to differentiate this website, but then run an article like this.

              • August 20th 2011 @ 4:10pm
                Kuruki said | August 20th 2011 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

                So your saying if you went to the pub and did not turn up for work in the morning, failed to ring in and couldn’t be contacted you would not loose your job?. People get fired everyday for this kind of thing an none of that is ever media related is it?. And most of the time these punishments happen, it is the club who let the media know the situation before they even have a sniff of it. So to blame this on media pressure is ridiculous. There are procedures in place at every club to deal with these things.
                These are high profile sportsmen who are representing there country and in the biggest stage on the planet, they do not have the luxury of a low profile like everybody else, and that is fair enough because they are paid accordingly.
                The players are doing a pretty good job at making the sport a soap opera without any of my doing. The hair gell the flashy boots the new dance routines during goal kicks and after tries.
                When a professional is selected to represent his country then everything he does should be professional, if these young guys do not know how to live up to this role then maybe they should not be there. They have ample opportunity to relax and have a few beers after a game using it as an excuse not to turn up to work deserves punishment full stop.
                I think some of you are just a bit peeved off because you realize the implications this could have for Aussie to win the Tri Nations.

              • August 20th 2011 @ 5:27pm
                Mike Oxsaw said | August 20th 2011 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

                Kuruki. ABs supporter huh? Does JOC worry you a wee-bit does he? Calling for a suspension over a sleep in might suggest so.

                While we’re at it, why hasn’t Richie McCaw been suspended for having a haircut straight out of 1992? It’s a blight on the game!

                I’m pretty sure Dan Carter would have had pre-marital intercourse at some point… out for the season?

                Maturity is not measured by the number on the bottom of your bank statement. Throwing a bunch of money at someone does not magically turn them into a mature, responsible, professional adult.

                No one was hurt, nothing illegal happened & JOC would have been embarressed and sh!@ting his duds. Noone really noticed, or cared that he wasn’t there. Everyone take a deep breath and calm down.

          • August 20th 2011 @ 7:58pm
            apaway said | August 20th 2011 @ 7:58pm | ! Report

            Good point, he could serve Bundy and improve his barman brand!

        • August 21st 2011 @ 3:22pm
          mattamkII said | August 21st 2011 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

          Ok then apaway …change it to.


          21 year old repeats wanky marketing term he no doubt heard from a marketing guru….a couple of months later he gets drunk and sleeps through alarm – Misses wanky work function.

          Who gives a toss

          That better?

          Get some perspective guys and stop jumping on any chance to judge.

    • August 19th 2011 @ 9:38pm
      dc said | August 19th 2011 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

      Maybe …its good for his brand….you know, take some of the Justin Bieber gloss off….get that bad boy thing happening….i think he is being advised well….

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