London Irish 14-19 Northampton Saints
James O'Connor surprised at pace of Premiership
ESPN Staff
November 3, 2013
Welcome to the Premiership © Getty Images

James O'Connor admitted he was taken aback by the pace of the Aviva Premiership after making a losing debut for London Irish who went down 14-19 against title-chasing Northampton.

O'Connor turned in an impressive display just six days after signing for the Irish and seven days after leaving Australia.

"The speed of the game was very surprising," he said. "I thought Super Rugby was fast but I was really blowing out there, that's for sure. It felt great. The club and all the boys have been awesome since I arrived and I am really looking forward to my time here.

"I didn't feel 100% and can get better. I wanted to perform. It was one of the best pitches I have played on. It was just a shame we could not get the win."

The Irish's director of rugby Brian Smith said: "James was outstanding. He's 23 and is still just a kid who gets up in the morning and puts his trousers on one leg at a time like everyone else. A lot has happened quickly to him but he's settled in straight away and showed his class today. The boys enjoyed playing with him today.

"We see him as 15, even though many see him as a jack of all trades who has played right along the back line. And he wants to establish himself as a fullback."

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