James O’Connor to the Reds?

Jim Carmichael has led speculation that James O’Connor is poised for a controversial return to Australia via the Queensland Reds.RW Stamp

Reds boss Carmichael would not confirm whether O’Connor is set to join the Reds’ in the 2015 Super Rugby roster but admitted he was in the process of addressing their current deficiencies.
The 2011 champions have fallen from grace as well as to the foot of the table after making the play-offs in 2012 and 2013.
Richard Graham’s team have suffered five straight losses to date.
Wallabies Will Genia and Quade Cooper have struggled without any potent attacking threats out wide, but O’Connor would certainly give them much needed momentum and creativity as well as take pressure off of Cooper.
It’s understood the mercurial utility back has received a lucrative offer despite concerns regarding his history of misdemeanours and individual attitude.
Carmichael said the Reds were open-minded as they tried to improve their list.
“I don’t have a closed mind on anything,” the chief executive told AAP.
We’re working through what we would call the deficiencies we have as we speak.
“There’s a lot of pressure on us and we need to cop it on the chin and just live in that pressure-cooker at the moment without distracting people with who we may or may not sign.”
The Reds are the only team left for the trouble-prone yet skilful O’Connor to return to since the Western Force pulled out of talks last month.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie gave up on the player last year, but O’Connor seems keen to play at next year’s World Cup.
His London Irish coach, Australian Brian Smith, has praised the 23-year-old for his behaviour and maturity, and expects him to return home and play 100 more Tests.
“He’s back on the horse now and he’s kept his nose clean,” Smith told The Telegraph.
“He’s grown up a lot over the last few months.”
Although O’Connor was raised on the Gold Coast and schooled in Brisbane, the Reds initially appeared an unlikely destination with Graham, the coach who let him go at the Western Force in late 2011 following self-centred demands, in charge.

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