Super Rugby
Force delay O'Connor return
ESPNscrum Staff
May 30, 2011
Western Force fly-half James O'Connor breaks clear, Western Force v Melbourne Rebels, Super Rugby, nib Stadium, Perth, Australia, April 2, 2011
James O'Connor will make his return for the Western Force against the Reds on June 11 © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: James O'Connor | Willie Ripia | Brett Sheehan
Tournaments/Tours: Super Rugby
Teams: Force

Western Force will again be without James O'Connor for their Super Rugby clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.

The Australia international is recovering from shoulder and neck injuries that ruled him out of the Forces' 34-28 loss to the Hurricanes and he will be given more time to regain full fitness ahead of the match against the Reds on June 11.

Force coach Richard Graham also confirmed that he would not be recalling Brett Sheehan, Willie Ripia and Gene Fairbanks for the match in Dunedin, despite them nearing full fitness. Therefore James Stannard is set to fill in at fly-half again, while Mark Swanepoel will play at nine for just his third cap.

"I'm not bringing any of the (injured) boys over," Graham told AAP. "All of them are there thereabouts in terms of fitness but by the time they get over here they would only get to train with us at the captain's run.

"If you bring one or two in that would compromise the whole squad. Definitely they will all be fit and come back in contention for our game against the Reds on June 11.

"It's important to reward the group for their performance (against the Hurricanes), albeit we didn't get the result we were after."

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