Michael O’Connor has been chosen to complete the trifecta of selectors for the Wallabies, joining Coach Michael Cheika and recently named Director of Rugby Scott Johnson.
The three have a gargantuan task to pick the squad they will field in this year’s competition, which includes the 2019 World Cup.
One of their choices, unfortunately, does not include choosing to avoid New Zealand entirely.
O’Connor is a dual international and has 12 caps from the Wallabies from 1979 – 1982 before making the hop to league and earning impressive credentials for St. George and Manly in the NRL, and representative football for NSW and Australia.
After retiring from playing, he was a Wallabies selector for 2006 – 2007, after which he coached the men’s sevens team from 2008 – 2014.
He has the confidence of RA chief executive Raelene Castle, who told reporters, “We interviewed a number of quality candidates for the role and it was Michael’s approach and philosophy around selection that really stood out. He brings to the table immense experience in talent identification as well as the perspective of having played at the highest levels and coached at international level and has performed a similar role for the Wallabies in the past. We believe Michael’s skills will complement the skills of both Michael Cheika and Scott Johnson and create a very open and challenging selection environment in an important year for the Wallabies.”
Cheika might be a sour apple in the selection process, having had his prior status of being in almost total control of the selection process diminished following a campaign where the Wallabies were nothing but dismal, winning so infrequently that beating Italy was a high point of the Test season.
Johnson is one of those who never lacks for chances. He is currently working in Scotland as the high performance boss and is scheduled to come down under following the completion of the Six Nations competition.
“I’ve gained a lot of different perspectives in over 20 years of involvement in rugby at a local, national and international level and I feel privileged to be able to take on this role as a national selector,” O’Connor said.