Former Wallabies utility back James O’Connor is reportedly in talks for a shock re-call to the Wallabies squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
A report in The Australian states that Rugby Australia is considering putting in an offer for the 28-year-old to sign with a Super Rugby franchise during the latter stages of the 2020 Super Rugby season.
The Australian, also reports that Michael Cheika has not spoken to the Sale Sharks back since their casual meeting during the Wallabies’ end-of-year tour in 2017, however, the new director of rugby Scott Johnson has been in contact with the 44-test back.
O'Connor became the second youngest Wallaby in Australian rugby history, behind only Queensland wing Brian Ford in 1957, when he made his Test debut against Italy in 2008. He made his first start in green and gold against the Barbarians at Wembley later that year.
O'Connor lasted played test rugby in 2013 against Argentina and his return to Australia could be a massive boost to any of the Australian Super Rugby sides, with a number of backs leaving Australia with Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley, Christian Leali'ifano, Samu Kerevi and Will Genia all having already committed to an overseas clubs or are rumoured to join another club.
O'Connor is currently in Queensland as part of his Premiership off-season and has just one season remaining on his three-year deal with Sale Sharks.
If he were to sign with an Australian club for the latter stages of next year’s competition and the 2021 campaign, then he would become available for this year’s World Cup, despite not meeting the 60-test threshold required for overseas-based players who haven’t committed themselves to a return to Super Rugby.