Super Rugby: Queensland Reds confirm interest in James O'Connor
Queensland Reds look set to offer James O'Connor a path back to Australia and Super Rugby.
Last Updated: 14/05/14 3:46pm
The talented back left Australia under a cloud last year after his Wallabies contract was torn up after a string of off-field indiscretions.
He came to England to play for London Irish, and although he has signed a deal to join Toulon in the summer, Queensland are hoping to bring him home next season, which would mean a stay of just a few months in France.
He left Western Force in acrimonious circumstances in 2011 and was dumped by Melbourne Rebels last year, but Reds chief Jim Carmichael says he has an "open mind" towards the recruitment of O'Connor who is still hoping to rehabilitate himself in the Australia squad in time for next year's World Cup.
With his former Force coach Richard Graham now in charge at the Reds, the Brisbane-based team seem an unlikely destination.
But Carmichael said: "In this brutal competition you better make sure you make the right choices when you go after players.
"No one has the luxury of getting it wrong on the field or off it. With every footballer we start with an open mind and it's no different with James O'Connor.
"All of them have to come with non-negotiables in terms of fitting into the culture we drive and adapting to our environment separate to their ability on the field."
The Reds have had a poor season, winning just three matches which leaves them bottom of the Australian conference with six rounds of the regular season left.
"We're looking at a lot of players," Carmichael told The Australian newspaper.
"We're probably three or four players short of a championship team but we might have to recruit five or six players to get the mix right."