One Percenters: O’Connor reveals World Cup ambitions, Parling to join Rebels coaches
Super Rugby and club seasons are done but there is plenty of action around the rugby world.
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O’Connor reveals Wallabies ambition
Controversial former Wallabies back James O’Connor has revealed a deep-seated desire to play in next year’s Rugby World Cup.
O’Connor has been working to return from ankle surgery in recent months and spent time in an Icelandic training centre recently, a process that helped him face himself and his ‘darkness’.
The 27-year-old posted a series of photos on Instagram with a lengthy caption describing his self-revelations after days of sensory deprivation and deep mediation.
“I have been pushed into some very uncomfortable situations by @saviourworld through the use of sensory deprivation, heat exhaustion and deep states of meditation.
“My reaction to each stimulus has forced me to face myself and my darkness in a way that I have never felt before.
“I now know who I was but more importantly, I now see who I must become.
“It is time for me to share my truth. I have a deep desire to play for the Wallabies again.
“I have learnt from my mistakes and I am now ready. Ready to bleed green and gold. Ready to bleed for my brothers. Ready to bleed for the people.
“I will be back playing in October and I will have my eye firmly on the World Cup. I will not let myself or anyone down again. Time to shine!”
This isn’t the first time O’Connor has expressed an interest in coming home. He played for the Reds in an injury-affected 2015 and in 2017, when in Brisbane for the Tens with French glamour club Toulon, spoke about his ambition to play Test rugby again.
Less than a month later, he was arrested for cocaine possession, an incident that ultimately led to the end of his time with Toulon.
He is currently signed until 2020 with Sale in the UK Premiership and would need to sign with an Australian team for the 2019 Super Rugby season – or on a two-year contract from 2020 – if he wanted to return to the Wallabies, with only 44 Tests to his name.
Wallabies Drew Mitchell and Samu Kerevi posted their support for O’Connor in the comments underneath.
McIntyre in the mix for homecoming
Goal-kicking 10s don’t grow on trees, or certainly not any Aussie species anyway.
So it’s no shock to hear as many as three Australian Super franchises are talking to Jake McIntyre about returning from France for next season.
McIntyre was a promising young flyhalf who came through the Aussie under 20s system and after being penciled in as Quade Cooper’s successor, debuted for the Reds in 2015.
He played 34 games for the Reds but with Hamish Stewart seen as the next big thing at Ballymore, McIntyre signed with Agen in France.
Aged 23 and building experience with each year, it was a blow for Aussie rugby to lose McIntyre and his solid form for Ages rammed home that point.
But in a good development, McIntyre appears to be heading home, and three clubs are keen. One is Queensland.
Slipper firming for Rebels move
The Rebels’ discussions with the Reds and Quade Cooper are progressing and it seems James Slipper is moving closer to a Melbourne move as well.
Melbourne’s salary cap will be decisive in both cases and that will be the big hurdle to overcome when it comes to sealing the deal.
We hear Slipper is yet to make a call on whether he will ply his trade in Canberra or Melbourne next season but with Wallabies loosehead Scott Sio playing for the Brumbies the logical solution would be to join his old mate Quade at the Rebels.
Expect a move to be made in the next month.
Parling to become Rebels assistant
Still on the Rebels, Melbourne is set to add Geoff Parling to its coaching panel in 2019.
While a formal portfolio is yet to be finalised for the former Lions lock, he has agreed to be a part of the system.
Parling is currently playing in the Japanese Top League after playing for the Rebels this season.
The 34-year-old would be a handy addition too, after a 15-year professional career across both hemispheres.
Sydney Uni complete the double
Sydney Uni took out the Shute Shield final against Warringah earlier this month and their star-studded women’s team bettered the effort in the Jack Scott Cup.
The students beat Warringah 38-17 in Saturday’s final to claim the premiership and complete a perfect 2018 season.
Rising go full country in Mudgee
The Melbourne Rising took on NSW Country in Mudgee in the NRC on Saturday and the city slickers embraced the regional move.
Five-try hero Tom English posted a pic of the team on Saturday night, sporting their best flanelette shirts and a strong smattering of Akubras.
Nice to see sides enjoying playing in smaller towns, a trademark of the NRC.
Carter makes mark in Japan
Dan Carter made his Japanese debut this weekend, playing for the Kobe Steelers.
Carter, playing alongside former Wallaby Adam Ashley-Cooper, notched 21 points in a man-of-the match outing for his new team as they knocked off Matt Giteau and Sean McMahon’s Suntory.
Seems the All Blacks legend has still got it.
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