James O’Connor To Stick With Reds Past 2015

Star 2015 recruit James O’Connor will honour a two-year contract signed with the Queensland Reds after his current stint in France, according to the club.

O’Connor inked a two-year deal to join the Reds after the 2015 World Cup, a certainty according to Reds chief executive Jim Carmichael despite French media reports the 24-year-old will return to Toulon after just a year.

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal claimed earlier in the week that O’Connor had signed a three-year deal with the club but has been granted a one-season return to the Reds.

Carmichael shot down any notion of an early O’Connor departure on Wednesday, saying he could not see any reason why the 44-game Wallaby veteran wouldn’t be with the club for both the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

“In the interest of all parties, I’m not going to discuss the detail of any players’ contract,” he said.

“However, I’m completely satisfied that the agreement we have set is in the best interests of the QRU, the Reds, Australian Rugby and James O’Connor.

“My priority now is to give James the best opportunity to achieve our agreed objectives when he joins the Reds, so I hope that this is the last time I will need to clarify our position.”

However Boudjellal told French website www.rugbyrama.fr that a return to Toulon is a lock.

“We always said James O’Connor had signed for three years at Toulon with a possible six months absence during the season to be able to play in the World Cup,” he said.

“So we respect what has been signed … he is committed for two years after the Cup.”

French media outlets have floated other rumours in recent weeks, including a report from L’Equipe claiming O’Connor had approached Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie about a guaranteed World Cup spot if he returned to the squad, a claim denied by the coach over the weekend.  

Photo: Tomas Samson/Getty Images

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