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Super Rugby; James O’Connor was the Wallabies golden boy. The Queensland Reds star has now revealed his future

Speaking to this masthead, O’Connor’s outwardly carefree persona could seem at odds with his determination, humility and hunger for success.

First the 33-year-old would crack jokes, interjecting when certain topics arose. When the conversation shifted to rookie five-eighth Tom Lynagh, he quipped: “F—, he’s funny.”

Then, he would showcase his ambition, declaring Lynagh and Harry McLaughlin-Phillips’ newfound confidence would ensure his selection was no guarantee.

James O’Connor burst onto the scene debuting for the Wallabies as an 18-year-old.Credit: Getty

There were no shields from O’Connor. He was authentic – a code word he said new coach Les Kiss had given the group, and one he believed would inspire an attacking brand of rugby that would overcome their quarter-finals hoodoo.

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“There’s a really big emphasis on guys being authentic, so we’re seeing people for who they are,” O’Connor said.

“That’s started off the field, so it’s humans coming back and there’s a lot of tightness … then that comes out on the field because you’ve built those connections.

“The guys aren’t scared to make a mistake, a young boy isn’t scared to tell me what he’s seeing or how he’s seen the game, or say, ‘Give me the ball early this time’.

“I have so much love for this group. I know each of the players very well, I know how they play and exactly how they like the ball delivered, as well as what their favourite food is.

“It’s different to how I’d been in the past. I’d like to be at a club maximum four years … and move on and experience a different part of life.

“I’m very settled here, there’s a deep care for this group.”

O’Connor will miss the Reds’ trial against the Waratahs on Saturday as he recovers from a hamstring issue suffered last week, and will be assessed in the lead-up to round one.

McLaughlin-Phillips has been named to start in Roma, while Lynagh will return from a back injury off the bench.

Queensland Reds squad v Waratahs

1. Peni Ravai 2. Matt Faessler 3. Zane Nonggorr 4. Seru Uru 5. Ryan Smith 6. Liam Wright (co-capt) 7. Fraser McReight 8. Harry Wilson 9. Tate McDermott (co-capt) 10. Harry McLaughlin-Phillips 11. Mac Grealy 12. Hunter Paisami 13. Josh Flook 14. Suliasi Vunivalu 15. Jock Campbell

Reserves: 16. Josh Nasser 17. Alex Hodgman 18. Sef Fa’agase 19. Connor Vest 20. John Bryant 21. Kalani Thomas 22. Tom Lynagh 23. Jordan Petaia 25. Cormac Daly 26. George Blake 27. Lawson Creighton 28. Tim Ryan 12. Isaac Henry

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  • Source of information and images “brisbanetimes”

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