Super Rugby
Queensland Reds release James O'Connor over 'personal issues'
ESPN Staff
October 13, 2015
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Australian utility back James O'Connor will once again look to Europe for a route back into club rugby after being released from his contract with the Queensland Reds over "personal issues".

The 25-year-old, who has a litany of off-field indiscretions to his name, looked to have been given a lifeline by the Brisbane side earlier this year spells with London Irish and Toulon after the Australian Rugby Union terminated his central contract in 2013.

O'Connor had signed a two-year deal with the Reds, but the 2011 Super Rugby champions released him "effective immediately" on Tuesday.

"James has experienced a difficult time personally since returning to Australia and we've been aware of that for some time," Queensland Rugby Union chief executive Jim Carmichael said in a statement.

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"It is disappointing that James was not able to reach his full potential while he was with us but after a great deal of thought, we believe it is in his and the Reds best interests that we exercise our release clause in his contract."

O'Connor, who can play across the back line, found himself exiled in 2013 in England and then France after a drunken row with police at the airport in Perth, but returned to Australia ahead of the 2015 Super Rugby season in a bid to make the Wallabies World Cup squad.

But knee and groin injuries, a failure to settle back into rugby in Australia and public half-time spat with Reds team mate Adam Thomson prompted Michael Cheika to leave him out of Australia's provisional 40-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.

"I came to the Reds with the intention of playing my best football in my home state and looking for a fresh start but I've struggled with some personal matters," O'Connor said.

"The Reds are a wonderful team and organisation and I'm very disappointed I wasn't able to achieve my full potential."

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