An immature waster of talent the Queensland Reds are better off without; that’s the stinging assessment of James O’Connor by former Wallabies fullback Greg Martin.
O’Connor is expected to head back to Europe to join French glamour club Toulon after being granted a release from the final year of his contract with the Reds on Tuesday, ending an underwhelming stint with the Super Rugby franchise.
The 25-year-old’s release was granted due to personal issues but Martin doesn’t think the Reds would have fought too hard to hold on to O’Connor.
Labelling O’Connor the “Justin Bieber of Australian rugby”, Martin said an on-field spat with former Reds teammate Adam Thompson during this year’s Super Rugby campaign highlighted why O’Connor was no longer needed at Ballymore.
“He’s an immature twat,” Martin told Brisbane’s Triple M radio.
“A little young punk with one of the greats of the modern game – Adam Thompson – having an argument on the field in front of the world? That says it all, who does he think he is?”
O’Connor’s likely return to France, where he played for six months before returning to Australia in a bid to make this year’s World Cup, almost certainly brings an end to his 44-Test career.
The second-youngest player to debut for the Wallabies at just 18 in 2008, Martin says his failure to make the most of his ability will be the most damning aspect of O’Connor’s career.
“This could be the greatest waste of Australian rugby talent,” Martin said.
“He’s played 44 Tests for Australia at the age of 25, (but) hasn’t played in the last few years because of his bad attitude.
“A guy that just hasn’t matured.”