James O’Connor could recover from injury in time for the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship clash against the Springboks in Perth.
The utility back has been sidelined with a lacerated liver, which he suffered after a collision with Berrick Barnes when the Waratahs tackled the Rebels during Super Rugby. The current lay-off and a subsequent leg injury meant he has missed 20 weeks of rugby this year.
‘It’s been frustrating because 2011 was a massive year for me,’ O’Connor told the media at a recent promotional event in Sydney. ‘I learnt a lot and got to play a lot of rugby. I hadn’t really been injured too much [before this year], so it’s been a bit different.’
O’Connor revealed that his recovery is going well and he should make a return for the Wallabies during the Rugby Championship. He’s been ruled out of the Bledisloe Cup fixtures against the All Blacks on 18 and 25 August, but an expected return date could be on 8 September, when the Wallabies tackle the Boks at home.
‘It’s [the recovery] going well, the rehab is trending nicely and I’m running at just over 90 per cent,’ added O’Connor. ‘When you start setting dates that puts pressure on. I’d love to play in that Test but I’ll leave it at that.’
O’Connor also mentioned that he’d love to play at inside centre. He’s been used at wing and fullback for most of his Test career.
‘I want to be around the ball a little bit more. My strength and what I can give to the team is that second ball player role. That’s where I’d like to play.’