An eager James O’Connor will draw on the wet weather rugby lessons learnt in England for Saturday’s date with the NSW Waratahs in a sodden Sydney.
The Reds’ expansive 41-7 win was their biggest ever against the Waratahs in the opening Super Rugby AU round in Brisbane but O’Connor knows things will look different at Stadium Australia this weekend.
That’s not to say the unbeaten Reds, building a reputation as Australian rugby’s entertainers behind an excited backline, won’t enjoy the chance to add another string to their bow.
“I had a couple of years in England (first with London Irish and most-recently Sale Sharks), and I think my last (2019) season there was only one game where it wasn’t wet, so I had to develop my game in that respect,” he said.
“If you look outside we’re getting pretty used to it (the wet weather in Brisbane) as well … we’ve got a few ideas in terms of how we want to approach the game.”
The Waratahs are still wobbling after that historic first round loss but are set to welcome back Angus Bell, Will Harris and Izaia Perese in some rare good news this week.
Also relevant is their shock 45-12 thumping of the Reds last season after the Reds had beaten them in Brisbane.
“It’s a big game and I don’t have a short memory; last year we went down and they did a job on us,” O’Connor said.
“After watching them finish their game last week, they started getting their combinations together.”
The Reds did enough to beat the Western Force 26-19 at home last Saturday but O’Connor still isn’t happy with the side’s error-riddled performances.
“I’m a perfectionist, I always go to the blackboard and think what worked, what didn’t,” he said.
“It’s the beauty of rugby, like chess pieces moving them around for different opposition and players who all think differently.”