Reformed Wallabies unhealthy boy James O’Connor admits he skilled “fairly an emotional second” when coach Brad Thorn advised him he’ll captain the Queensland Reds.
In one other signal of the previous teen star’s progress since his darkish days of rugby exile, Thorn has appointed 30-year-old playmaker O’Connor as interim captain whereas common skipper Liam Wright misses the majority of the Tremendous Rugby season because of harm.
The choice was greeted with raucous spherical of applause from teammates when introduced internally after coaching on Friday.
“When Brad advised me the opposite day I had fairly an emotional second the place I simply mirrored on my entire journey,” mentioned O’Connor on Sunday.
“Being in Australia, going away, coming again, simply all the pieces that is been part of it.
“It is really humbling.”
O’Connor will first lead his crew out within the season-opener towards NSW Waratahs at house on Friday.
It maintains a dramatic rise from rugby oblivion for O’Connor, who debuted for the Wallabies as an 18-year-old however twice left Tremendous Rugby for Europe amid off-field points.
Two nights in a Paris jail cell in 2017 proved the road within the sand for the Gold Coast product, who sought a return to Australia and has since re-established himself with the Wallabies and proved his management credentials beneath disciplinarian Thorn.
A earlier transient stint with the Reds – his third Australian Tremendous Rugby Membership – in 2015 led to acrimony.
Six years on, O’Connor will captain a gifted younger aspect boasting a smattering of rising Wallabies which is predicted to push for a title.
He believed a hard-learned lesson to all the time put his crew paved the best way for his newest honour.
“Since I’ve come (again to the Reds) I’ve actually wished to be concerned and provides my all, and that is probably why I’ve acquired the decision up,” he mentioned.
Former Queensland Reds and Wallabies centre Tim Horan – who days in the past advised AAP that 21-year-old flanker Fraser McReight can be a sensible choice to deputise for the injured Wright as captain – additionally backed the collection of O’Connor.
“An important reward for James O’Connor being named captain of the Queensland Reds whereas Liam Wright is out for 10 weeks. A robust chief who will proceed to boost the Reds tradition,” Horan tweeted.