Aviva Premiership: James O’Connor to make London Irish return

Aviva Premiership: James O'Connor is set to return to competitive action for London Irish after a hamstring injury

By Gareth Llewellyn

James O’Connor is expected to return for London Irish after the club revealed he sustained only a minor hamstring injury on Sunday.

The Australian international limped off after 13 minutes of their thumping win over Newcastle Falcons in the Aviva Premiership and there were early fears the 23-year-old could have played his last game before a summer move to France.

James has been a terrific signing for the club

Brian Smith

“He won’t be right for this weekend [against Northampton Saints], but we’ve then got a weekend without a game,” director of rugby Brian Smith told the Reading Post.

“He might be right for Gloucester [on 3 May]. He will definitely be right for the last game [against Sale on 10 May].”

O’Connor has scored 93 points in 13 appearances for the Exiles since joining in October, but will join Toulon for the first three months of the new season before returning to Australia in a bid to break back into the international set-up ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

“James has been a terrific signing for the club,” Smith added. “It coincided with the announcement of the new ownership and it was probably a declaration of intent by our new owners to say we can attract world-class players.

“It would have been nice for James to spend the next six months with us as well before he heads back to Australia, but you cannot ask someone to turn down the sort of financial incentives to swing via Toulon.

“He has been terrific. He’s a very good player and been instrumental in a couple of key wins for us.”

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