6 Jan 2015

Former Wallaby O'Connor says he's changed

7:24 pm on 6 January 2015

Controversial Australian Rugby player James O'Connor has declared himself a changed man after the Queensland Reds recruit made his first public appearance today since returning from his 15-month exile.

Queensland Reds recruit James O'Connor

Queensland Reds recruit James O'Connor Photo: Queensland Rugby Union

The former Wallaby, who's been given a lifeline at the Reds, says he is ready to show Australian rugby what he learnt from his stint with the French Top 14 champions Toulon.

O'Connor told reporters he's in a different headspace and admits he made mistakes.

The 24-year-old says going overseas was the best move he's made and he's prepared to get back on track by working hard and doing the little things right.

More than just correcting the mindset that landed him in hot water on multiple occasions in the past, O'Connor says he has refined his on-field abilities after training harder in Europe than he ever had.

O'Connor honed in on his kicking while at Toulon and had the ideal mentor in the form of English great Jonny Wilkinson.

O'Connor didn't shy away from his ultimate Rugby World Cup ambitions, but says his immediate goal is to find his feet at the Queensland Reds.

Reds coach Richard Graham says O'Connor has come back with a lot of confidence and sensed a new level of maturity about him.

Graham also signalled the versatile O'Connor will be deployed out wide as part of a new, star-studded Queensland backline.