13 Feb 2014

McKenzie to check on O'Connor behaviour

6:38 am on 13 February 2014

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie will undertake background checks on James O'Connor's behaviour off the field in Europe before he considers making the trouble-making star part of his plans for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The pair have been engaged in regular dialogue over recent months, with McKenzie encouraging O'Connor to lock down a Super Rugby contract for next year as quickly as possible.

McKenzie and ARU chief executive Bill Pulver have made it clear that the dynamic attacking weapon will be welcomed back, but with no guarantees of resurrecting his international career unless form and off-field discipline are up to scratch.

McKenzie says he's heard nothing to suggest O'Connor has been anything but professional during his time away, but will make enquiries when the time is right.

O'Connor had developed a reputation as a problem child before departing for a stint overseas with London Irish and then Toulon.

However, the 23-year-old has signalled his intentions to find a Super Rugby club for next season.

The Western Force were the only team interested in O'Connor before he made his shock exit from Australia, but Pulver expects the 44-Test Wallaby to be sought after.