20 Feb 2011

O'Connor forced into playmaking hot seat

12:08 pm on 20 February 2011

The Auckland-born Wallabies wildcard James O'Connor has been thrust into first-five- for Western Force's opening-round Super Rugby clash with Queensland.

The former Hurricanes playmaker Willie Ripia had been pencilled in to wear the No.10 jersey but his foot injury hasn't responded to treatment.

Ripia's injury blow puts utility back O'Connor, 20, into a head-to-head playmaking duel with close friend and Wallabies teammate Quade Cooper on Sunday in Brisbane.