O'Connor Readied for Welsh Tactics

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM WALD of AAP

RUGBY UNION: Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has urged James O'Connor to keep an open mind on his playing position as he prepares for the playmaking role against Wales.

O'Connor is set for a stern test of his five-eighth credentials from a young, confident Welsh side determined to send departing winger Shane Williams out on a winning note at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium early tomorrow morning (AEST).

The assured and versatile O'Connor made a bright start in his first appearance at No.10 for Australia in last weekend's 60-11 rout of the Barbarians at Twickenham.

With good mate and regular five-eighth Quade Cooper out injured, O'Connor has hinted that his time at No.10 is only a temporary measure and he is best suited to inside centre.

Deans sent a reminder, however, that the 21-year-old's long-term role was not settled and the team's best interests should come first in deciding it.

aHis stated preference is 12 but you find over time that players let go of their individual preference and ideally start to think of what is in the best interests of the group and team,a Deans said.

aHe is of great value wherever he is, so it does not matter in the long run, but he is capable of mastering both (inside centre and five-eighth).a

The Welsh backs have spent the past week devising plans to stifle O'Connor. …


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