/ Rugby

James O'Connor released from ARU contract after off-field controversies

Updated: Thursday, 03 Oct 2013 10:30 | Comments

James O'Connor was recently ejected from Perth airport following an incident
James O'Connor was recently ejected from Perth airport following an incident

Australia back James O'Connor has accepted an early release from the final year of his Australian Rugby Union contract.

The decision follows his latest off-field indiscretion, which saw him thrown out of a Perth airport just hours after playing in the Wallabies' one-point victory over Argentina last month.

O'Connor has yet to secure a Super Rugby contract for next season after he was let go by the Melbourne Rebels at the end of the 2013 campaign.

"The Australian Rugby Union and I have mutually agreed to put the past behind us and move forward from today," O'Connor said in a statement.

"As a professional, I am focused in developing as a person and as an athlete and intend to do everything possible to put myself in the best environment to do that.

"I want to apologise for any issues that I have caused and I want express my respect for my teammates, the Wallabies and the jumper. There is nothing more important and rewarding to me than representing my country.

"I want to say again that I do appreciate the impact that some of my actions have had on my team and the sport in general.

"I recognise that given my actions and the circumstances it is best for the team and myself to go in different directions in the short term.

"I remain focused on earning my place back with the Wallabies and will be looking for the right opportunity to do this."

O'Connor had been in discussions with former club Western Force about a return but they have now encouraged him to take a break from rugby to consider his future.

O'Connor must play for a Super Rugby franchise if he is to be eligible to add to his 43 Wallabies caps.

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