Positive messages continue to come from Rugby Australia, as the news that James O’Connor recommits to the Queensland Reds, and importantly towards the Rugby World Cup 2023.
The 30-year-old has re-signed for the next two seasons that will see him remain at Ballymore, until the 2023 tournament in France.
— Wallabies (@wallabies) May 20, 2021
James O’Connor re-commits to Queensland Reds/Wallabies
As a senior player, James O’Connor has matured into a real asset that the Queensland Reds and especially the Wallabies, can not do without. In a more secured role as pivot for the Super Rugby franchise, his direction was critical in the team winning Super Rugby Australia for 2021.
O’Connor said in a media statement,”We have a great team now and I think we are going to do some special things. I’m excited to be part of it and to help take them forward”. And that message was backed up by Rugby Australia’s director of rugby. “It’s been a pleasure to have James back in Australian Rugby. I said at the time that he had matured immensely while overseas, and I think we have all seen that over the last two years,” Scott Johnson said.
“James will be the first to say though that the work isn’t done. We have a number of things to achieve in Australian Rugby in the coming years, and James’ experience will be invaluable to both the Reds and the Wallabies.
Now, with ambitions to utilize their Super Rugby Trans Tasman form leading up to the International window, O’Connor’s signature will underline his place in the national team too; a place he has occupied since 2008. Yet in 2021, his influence has gone from ‘fleeting moments of brilliance’ to more inspirational and strategic.
Regarding highly as a young outside back, that role has now transformed into the pivotal position of a playmaker. No longer hunting for individual brilliance, the modern version of James O’Connor has the vision and organizational skills developed over a decade of first-class rugby. The knowledge that James O’Connor recommits to his country will support their immediate plans for the three-Test series versus France, as well as the 2021 Rugby Championship tournament.
Alongside his teammates and under the guidance of Dave Rennie, the Australian team hopes to respond to the presence of South Africa and Argentina in this years’ scheduled Championship. It will require the very best, which is why having the ongoing services of O’Connor gives the Wallabies an added edge.
Les yeux rivés sur la #RWC2023 pour James O’Connor, qui a prolongé son contrat avec les @wallabies jusqu’en 2023 🔐🇦🇺
All eyes on #RWC2023 for James O'Connor, who has extended his contract with the @wallabies until 2023 🔐🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/Il1uw7jDMu
— Rugby World Cup France 2023 (@France2023) May 21, 2021
Then there are the union’s long-term goals.
Rugby Australia aiming high for RWC2023 and bid to host ’27
Beating France will be the first step on Rugby Australia’s grand plan. Needing to resurrect the profile of the game; after the Israel Folau/Raelene Castle era and post-Covid lockdown for competitive sport, 2021 has created positive messages. Much needed for a code that has high hopes and [forgivably] shallow pockets.
Covid 19 has hurt many sports organizations. Rugby Australia suffered badly, and while the small steps back to liquidity have involved a new $100 million broadcast deal with Stan SPORT and a sponsorship deal recently signed with confectionary giant Cadbury, on the field the team has to become a winning group that can match the high hopes heralded by the union.
That includes the present, for 2023, as well as its long-term aspirations.
— Wallabies (@wallabies) May 20, 2021
This week, the promotion and marketing drive for ‘Australia 2027’ shifted into high gear. The bid and lobbying to host the pinnacle rugby union event is a big opportunity. Former players en mass gave their support for the country to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup alone.
Previously devised as a co-hosting relationship with New Zealand, the new focus by Rugby Australia (RA) is to go it alone. Chairman Hamish McLennan said, “This is an exciting day for all Australians as we formally put our hand up to host the third-largest sporting event in the world. Hosting Rugby World Cup 2027 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Australia, which would drive substantial economic outcomes for our country, while also providing a lasting legacy for Rugby in this region.
“Australia is a sports-loving nation with a vast network of world-class modern stadia. We have a proud Rugby heritage in this country and are also home to ex-pats from across the globe who love to get out and support their teams when they tour.”
Hosting the 2003 event, this modern bid is built around some of the state-of-the-art facilities that can easily host matches. Those states will also be prepared to provide the bases for team’s and Queensland is especially ready for a monumental tournament, like a World Cup. Investing heavily before the Commonwealth Games, expect cities and stadiums all the way up and down the East Coast well and truly ready for 2027.
* Australia is currently in the dialogue phase of World Rugby’s host selection process. The sport’s global governing body will announce the successful host candidate in May 2022.
What is a positive for the Aussie game, is having the quality of players who can lead a Wallabies revival. Because as James O’Connor recommits to the Reds and Wallabies, he will stand tall as a leading figure, as the nation aims for results in 2021 and possible bigger goals for 2027.
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