Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Rookie Ready to Rock Big Joe

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Rookie Ready to Rock Big Joe

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Morton of AAP

WING novice James O'Connor is being viewed as Australia's Achilles heel but he will have an All Blacks record-breaker on edge tomorrow night.

After overcoming Springbok superstar Bryan Habana in his wing baptism last week, O'Connor, 20, will find the challenge does not get any easier when he marks Joe Rokocoko.

New Zealand's "Rocket Man", who is set to eclipse former greats Jonah Lomu and John Kirwan as the All Blacks' most-capped winger, enjoys a significant size and experience advantage over O'Connor.

But the 64-Test flyer fears he will be shown up by the Wallabies wonderboy, who he has likened to jockey-sized Welsh wizard Shane Williams.

"They're so elusive, smaller wingers," Rokocoko said.

"I'd rather mark someone who is solid and big than someone who is small and nippy. They can step off both feet and run really sharply, so he'll be a handful."

O'Connor, 10cm shorter and 14kg lighter than Rokocoko, is happy to hear it but has his own concerns in what looms as one of the more intriguing positional battles at Etihad Stadium. …

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