Birthday boy and Queensland Reds hero James O’Connor has vowed to make up for lost time after admitting he had “neglected” his rugby and kicking “talent” for too long.
On Friday night, O’Connor delivered the Reds the Bob Templeton Cup for the first time since 2013, kicking two late penalties to secure Queensland a 32-26 Super Rugby AU win over the NSW Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium.
O’Connor stepped up under pressure after teammate Bryce Hegarty’s mixed night with the boot.
It was a perfect early birthday present for the one-time wayward Wallaby, who turned 30 on Sunday.
Reds star James O’Connor attempts to break away from the Waratahs defence in Queensland’s Super Rugby AU win. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“Last Friday, I got to kick again after many years neglecting my craft. Neglecting my art. And in doing so, I neglected myself,” O’Connor posted on his Instagram account.
“I neglected the need to deliver the most powerful expression of myself to rugby, for the sake of those who needed some hope.
“It may just seem like rugby to some but to others right now, it is hope!”
And it seems as if the star fly half wants to retain the Queensland goalkicking duties for the Reds’ clash against the Melbourne Rebels at Brookvale Oval on Friday night, and beyond.
“Now that I find myself back in the position of being able to fully express myself on the pitch, and in particular at the kicking tee, know that I will not waste another moment! And that my aim, no matter how big or small the stage, is to bring hope!” he wrote.
O’Connor, who returned to the Reds this year after a stint in England with the Sale Sharks, worked last week at Ballymore with kicking guru Dave Aldred, the former mentor of England great Jonny Wilkinson.
The Rebels, who have been based in Canberra since last month, were beaten in their Super Rugby AU opener, losing 31-23 to the Brumbies on Saturday night.
The Melbourne team will reportedly move to Sydney this week ahead of Friday’s battle with Queensland.
Originally published asO’Connor won’t waste any more time
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