James O'Connor set for Wallabies return after six years following long-term contract signing with Reds

James O'Connor has played 44 Tests for Australia
James O'Connor has played 44 Tests for Australia

Fly-half James O'Connor is set to resume his Australia career after a six-year hiatus when head coach Michael Cheika announces the squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship tournament.

O'Connor, who has been capped 44 times at the international level last played for the Wallabies in 2013 before he moved to Europe. Having featured for London Irish and Toulon, the 28-year-old made a return to Australia signing a deal with Reds in a bid to make it to the 2015 World Cup squad but was not considered by Cheika.

He was released by Reds ahead of the 2016 season and managed to join Sale Sharks in 2017 making 25 Premiership appearances for the AJ Bell Stadium outfit.

According to media reports, it is understood that O'Connor has penned a long-term deal with Queensland Reds that makes him eligible to train with Australia squad and could very well feature in the Rugby Championship opening game against South Africa in Johannesburg.

Meanwhile, scrum-half Will Genia welcomed the prospect of O'Connor making a comeback to the Australian setup.

"What people tend to do is typecast him as the arrogant kid who did this and that and judgement is clouded on who he might be now as a person," said Genia.

"While he was young he got away with a lot because of pure talent but at the point where he was judged disruptive to the team, it was decided he was not wanted.

"If the research is done and he has matured, as the indications are, why wouldn't you bring back someone as good as he is, whether it's into the Reds or the Wallabies set-up?"