Australia 16-15 British & Irish Lions, Melbourne
James O'Connor sorry for hunger pangs
June 30, 2013
Don't go to Burger King, James O'Connor says © Getty Images
O'Connor and Beale were in hot water leading into the second Tom Richards Cup Test against the British & Irish Lions at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne after they were pictured at a fast-food outlet at 4am on Wednesday. Coach Robbie Deans was furious at their actions and read them the riot act, indicating thatr senior players would address the pair's disciplinary issues after the three-Test series. It appears that will still occur, but O'Connor attempted to play down the situation at a press conference on Sunday.
"We've spoken to Robbie and we've spoken to the players in our team," he said. "Although we didn't break team protocol or anything like that, it is a lack of judgement on our behalf. It's not ideal preparation during Test week, and let me tell you it won't happen again and we'll be better for it. It's a closed issue now."
O'Connor again endured a mixed night in the No.10 jumper, but he rebounded late in the game to help put centre Adam Ashley-Cooper over for the match-winning converted try. Asked if he felt he needed to repay his team-mates, O'Connor said: "Like I said, it was done and dusted. I just went along with the preparation and didn't let that faze us."
O'Connor also bristled when reminded the issue would be revisited by the leadership group. "It's done and dusted," he said. "We spoken about it earlier, let's close it there. No more questions on that, let's speak about rugby. It didn't impact on the week at all, the preparation was as usual and we didn't let it become a distraction at all."
O'Connor said he had learned a lesson: "Don't go to Burger King; it was an error of judgement and you have to be smarter than that".
James O'Connor says he has learned the error of his ways%]
The Lions have captain Sam Warburton in serious doubt for the deciding Test at ANZ Stadium with a hamstring strain, but the Wallabies travelled to Sydney with no major injury concerns. Ashley-Cooper and half-back Will Genia were nursing knee problems, but Deans believes he won't be forced into changes if captain James Horwill comes through his IRB appeals hearing on Monday night. "It was a typical changing room with a lot of ice around and some tired bodies but, I think, for the greater extent we came through it unscathed," the coach said.
Warburton will undergo scans in Melbourne on Sunday night while the rest of the Lions travel to Noosa.