O’Connor Confident Wallabies Can Win Bledisloe Cup
Still on a high after Australia’s commanding win over South Africa in Saturday night’s opening Tri-Nations encounter, young Wallabies utility James O’Connor is confident they can continue their good form with an upset over New Zealand for the Bledisloe Cup honours.
The now annually contested Bledisloe Cup is firmly the domain of the All Blacks, New Zealand having won the past eight successive series.
Australia has only managed to win the one match against the Kiwis in the past two years when they upset the All Blacks in Hong Kong last year.
The in-form O’Connor, however, believes the Wallabies are long overdue for a Bledisloe Cup victory and their upcoming Tri Nations Test against New Zealand at Auckland’s Eden Park this Saturday is the perfect arena to kick-start a new era.
In the Hong Kong match that saw Australia end a three-year hoodoo against the All Blacks, O’Connor came of age with an eleventh hour try and sideline conversion that gave the Wallabies the advantage over their adversaries on the scoreboard.
“Hong Kong was a big moment for this team,” O’Connor said.
“It cemented the belief we were up with the best in the world because the All Blacks set the benchmark.”
O’Connor is enjoying the Test Rugby ride having debuted for the Wallabies in 2008.
He made his mark right from the start, coming off the bench to play replacement fullback against Italy three years ago and scoring three tries to help the Aussies to win that match 31 -8.
Last season he played all but two of Australia’s 15 Test matches, and earned the honours of the 2010 Tri Nations Series top try scorer.
The dream continued last Saturday night as O’Connor played his part on the wing in the Wallabies 39 – 20 victory over the Springboks, a match highlighted by Quade Cooper’s exciting performance according to their young teammate.
“The enjoyment factor is right up for a winger when you have creators like Quade and the pack going like it did against the Boks,” O’Connor said.
“I haven’t played with Quade since last year but he’s definitely made his game more complete through all that the (Queensland) Reds achieved (winning the Super Rugby Grand Final).
“The way he creates, there are always extra defenders allocated to him.
“It opens up so much room because I do feel we have so many threats in our team to take advantage.
“It’s fun out there.”
Cooper set O’Connor up for his 11th Test try in the ANZ Stadium clash, the progressive winger able to gather up the slightly askew pass from the flyhalf.