Toulon set to axe O'Connor after Paris drugs bust

Australia's James O'Connor against New Zealand at AMI Stadium, Christchurch. Photo/NZPA
Australia's James O'Connor against New Zealand at AMI Stadium, Christchurch. Photo/NZPA

Australian rugby star James O'Connor's alleged cocaine possession appears to have cost him a future at Toulon, as the French rugby club weighs up his immediate punishment.

The Top 14 club's owner Mourad Boudjellal says O'Connor's contract, set to end in July, will be his last.

"He has re-opened the debate about his contract extension," Boudjellal told French newspaper Le Figaro. "We are not going to renew it.

"We are going to try and manage this season, but I don't want to overwhelm him."

The former Wallabies winger was reportedly charged with possession of the drug following his arrest in Paris over the weekend.

According to AFP, he and former All Black Ali Williams, who faces the more serious charge of buying cocaine, were charged and later released from custody on Sunday.

While Williams is due to appear in court at a later date, O'Connor can escape with a fine.

Boudjellal said the 26-year-old O'Connor would be suspended.

"He is not going to escape without a suspension, of course," he said. "After that, we will make a decision. James has done something stupid and it's difficult to defend him.

"I am going to talk about it with him. He's a lad of 26-years-old. I'm not here to destroy him, but I'm not here to favour him, either."

O'Connor had recently been attempting to negotiate a new contract with Toulon, but earlier this month, claimed to be in talks with Australian Super Rugby teams.

A return to Australia would put the former Western Force, Melbourne Rebels and Queensland Reds utility back in the Wallabies frame for the 2019 World Cup, but it seems like a long shot, given his off-field indiscretions.

O'Connor played 44 Tests for Australia between 2008-13, but had his contract torn up, following a number of misdemeanours, and headed for France.

- NZ Herald

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