James Horwill does not fear James O'Connor
July 2, 2014
James Horwill (right) says the Reds' recruitment team will make the right decisions © Getty Images
James Horwill has no reservations about Queensland Reds re-opening the door for Wallabies exile James O'Connor to return home next season, saying the recruitment team will ensure the back heads to Ballymore for the right reasons - if he heads there at all.
Queensland Rugby Union chief executive Jim Carmichael refuses to confirm or deny reports that O'Connor has signed a two-year deal, waiting instead until the end of their failed Super Rugby campaign before revealing the bulk of the 2015 squad.
Reds coach Richard Graham also has declined this week to confirm the speculation, but for six weeks the Gold Coast-raised O'Connor has appeared certain to head home from Europe to play on the wing for Queensland and push for Rugby World Cup selection.
Horwill, Australia's Test captain when O'Connor ran off the rails between 2011 and 2013, has been front and centre of a strong Reds culture for the past five years, and many fans have expressed concerns about the impact O'Connor could have on the team fabric.
Asked whether he held reservations, the 51-Test lock said: "Look, I think anyone who comes here will come for the right reasons and fit into our culture.
"I think that's the most important thing that we've stressed. No matter who comes, whether they are a Test player or a young guy coming in, they have to come for the right reasons: because they want to play for Queensland and fit into our way of playing and do things our way.
"I'm sure if Richard and Jim didn't see that in any individual then they wouldn't go down that path."
Horwill said that he had not spoken to O'Connor since he was sent packing by the Australian Rugby Union last September, after being escorted from an international flight at Perth Airport for being drunk.
Horwill last spoke to Carmichael and Graham about recruitment and retention plans in May, before going into camp with the Wallabies for June's 3-0 sweep of France.
"I was happy," he said. "I have full trust in the organisation. They have the team's best interests at heart and always put Queensland rugby first and foremost."
Queensland have cleared the decks out wide, with Rod Davies, Dom Shipperley and Mike Harris leaving at the end of the season, while front-rowers Albert Anae and Jono Owen are also departing Ballymore.
Communication error please reload the page.
Andy Murray was made to work hard for his 500th career win, but he finally came past Kevin Anderson to reach the quarter-finals at the Miami Open
Sharks centre Francois Steyn has been handed a five-week ban for a lifting tackle on Aaron Cruden after the incident was revisited by the SANZAR judiciary
Dan Carter will miss the Crusaders' Super Rugby game against the Sharks in Durban after returning to New Zealand to attend the birth of his second child
Liverpool will not consider a deal to sell Raheem Sterling this summer even if he refuses to sign a new contract, sources have told ESPN FC
Arsenal and Juventus have both made offers for Paulo Dybala, according to Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini
The Hurricanes have always been a franchise rich on talent, but something was always awry; not any more as they look the real deal Sam Bruce writes
Could the ongoing problems with the interpretation of the breakdown and rolling maul be solved with a simplification of the lawbook? Scrum5 discusses
Maurice Hamilton looks through the reaction of the British press to Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari returning to winning ways at the Malaysian Grand Prix
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
Luis Suarez graced the Anfield turf again on Sunday and vowed that if he ever returned to England, it would only be to play for Liverpool
Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin has said he is unsure if he would have made the grade if he had stayed at Barcelona and is pleased to have been given a chance by Arsene Wenger
Six months after being victim of a machete attack that left him fearing for his life, Kell Brook dished out a vicious attack of his own in his a first world title defence
Amir Khan believes the time is not right for a Battle of Britain with Kell Brook for the IBF world welterweight title as the reigning champion is virtually unknown in the United States
Manchester United target Mats Hummels is considering his Borussia Dortmund future
Rory McIlroy walked off at the Honda Classic. What next for the Northern Irishman?
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
After a 10-year break in the fixture, England and Italy have faced each other three times in as many seasons, with one win each and a draw
Join Steve Bunce and Barry Jones each week for the latest news, views and debate from the boxing world.
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner