I am hopeful of a discussion on an idea that I think is worth an airing. James O’Connor would profit the Wallabies better at inside centre than five-eighth.
O’Connor is a clever player possessed of superior game sense. I feel that he is the best thinker in the Australian Super Rugby competition as far as I have observed this year.
He is deceptively quick, elusive and strong, able to beat tackles and a sturdy defender. He kicks most effectively given some room. He is experienced, having played across the globe for various teams.
He has clearly shown he can steady his teams on numerous occasions.
I contend that selection at inside centre would give him greater scope to identify the opponent’s weak points and exploit them in attack and also to read an opponent’s attack and counter it. All of these represent the requirement of a game manager and should put him in line for the inside centre position.
He knows exactly what to do and when. He knows the right thing to do from a set piece or in broken play will depend upon the coach’s requirements and the opportunities the play presents.
I believe that Noah Lolesio has developed sufficiently into a five-eighth who can promote a kicking or running game. Positioning O’Connor at inside centre would also provide a psychological boost to Lolesio and whoever is selected at outside centre.
I would prefer to see the Wallabies play rather more with the ball in hand, kick judiciously for territory, follow the ball and contest possession at lineout.
I believe James O’Connor might best promote my style of game but he is certainly skilful enough and flexible of mind to suit any game plan Dave Rennie might devise.
Over to you Roarers. What do you think? Should James O’Connor be moved to inside centre, or is there somewhere else in the team that suits him best?