LONDON (AP) — Utility back James O'Connor, unwanted by the Wallabies, was contracted by London Irish on Tuesday to the end of the season.
O'Connor is expected to make his debut for the English Premiership club on Sunday against Northampton. O'Connor, capped 44 times by the Wallabies since he was 18 and their flyhalf in the series loss to the British and Irish Lions in July, had his contract terminated this month by an Australian Rugby Union tired of his off-field troubles going back more than two years.
Hours after a 14-13 win over Argentina in Perth last month, he was reportedly escorted from the Perth airport terminal by police after arguing with airline staff. The Wallabies suspended him, and the ARU axed him. Super Rugby's Western Force ended negotiations when O'Connor wanted to move overseas.
"Having decided that I needed a change from both a personal and playing point of view, I spoke to clubs in Japan and France and concluded that the best way forward for my development was to move to England," the 23-year-old O'Connor said.
"Given that I've left my support network back in Australia, London Irish offered me an environment that I felt comfortable with." The Wallabies are keen for O'Connor to prove himself again, and the player has said he wants to regain the Australia jersey.