O'Connor handed one-match ban
August 22, 2011
O'Connor admits he has let himself down after missing the official unveiling of the 30-man squad © Getty Images
The Australian Rugby Union have handed James O'Connor a one-match ban and a suspended A$10,000 fine for missing the Wallabies' Rugby World Cup squad announcement last week.
The 21-year-old missed the official photo call and media opportunity last Thursday having reportedly been seen in one or two hotels around Sydney the night before the announcement. The ARU asked him to explain his absence and have since banned him until August 28 and as a result he will not be available for the Tri-Nations decider with New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday.
O'Connor, who won the latest of his 30 Test caps against South Africa in Durban earlier this month, had previously apologised for his failure to attend the official functions. "I just want to express my regret as this is such an important event for the Wallabies and I would like to apologise to all the fans and my teammates," said O'Connor, whose suspended fine will remain in place until December 31, 2012.
"I let myself down, I let the fans down and I guess all the Wallabies down and the ARU as well It's a massive event (World Cup squad naming) and one that only comes around every four years."
O'Connor was also prepared to accept any verdict handed down as a result of his misdemeanour. "The process is out of my hands. It's with the ARU and whatever the outcome is, I'm willing to cop it," O'Connor added. "All I know is I will do all I can for the team.
"We've got a massive game coming up this Saturday and a chance to win the Tri-Nations before the World Cup, so all my efforts (will go) into training hard and doing what I can for the team. I want to be there for my team-mates, as they would be there for me."
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