James O’Connor has announced that he will move to Europe next month on a short-term playing contract.
In a statement released this afternoon, O’Connor has said he is in discussions with several clubs with an announcement to come in the next few days.
“I have decided that I will be moving overseas next month as part of a short-term playing contract,”
“I believe the move, for a few months, will be beneficial for me to develop in a different environment and help me be the best rugby player and person that I can be.
“It will also ensure that I continue playing professional rugby immediately and not wait until early in the new year to resume competition.
“I contacted Western Force today to inform them of my short term move overseas, but my management and I are continuing discussions with the Force about a longer term partnership. Both Michael Foley and Mark Sinderberry have been great supporters of mine and I greatly appreciate it.
“The past few weeks have given me an opportunity to look at all aspects of my life both professionally and personally and I want to give myself every opportunity to get back into the Wallabies side and to represent Australia in the 2015 World Cup,” O’Connor said.
Following the Australian Rugby Union’s decision to not offer him a contract in 2014, O’Connor had begun talks with the Western Force regarding the possibility returning to the club.
RugbyWA CEO Mark Sinderberry said that they had been informed by O’Connor directly and that they wish him well.
“The Western Force has laid strong foundations of standards and values – particularly around earning respect – and our discussions with James included on- and off-field programs that we believed could assist him in becoming the player he aspires to be and to develop himself as a person.
“James has made the decision that is right for him at this point in his playing career and the club remains open to recommencing these discussions again in the future if James wishes to return to Australian rugby,” Sinderberry said.