James O'Connor looks to have paid his dues and will be pushing for a return to the starting XV after an impressive performance off the reserves bench in the Wallabies' big World Cup win over Italy on Sunday.
The gifted youngster, who lost his starting spot after a one-match ban for missing an official pre-World Cup team function, came off the bench seven minutes after halftime for centre Anthony Fainga'a and made an impact.
He almost scored with his first touch of the ball before finishing with a try and three conversions in his first game back for Wallabies since the 14-9 win over South Africa in the Tri-Nations in Durban on August 13.
O'Connor grabbed the team's third try off an inside ball from Quade Cooper and was mobbed by teammates in-goal in celebration of his return.
"It feels incredible to be back out there and now I just want some more," the 21-year-old utility back said.
"I could see a few holes from the sideline so I was just pleased I could come on and work that."
Coach Robbie Deans praised O'Connor's input into the Wallaby win.
"James did well coming off the bench which is an experience as he hasn't had a lot of and it's a bit of a learned art," Deans said.
"But clearly he was connected with the game and pretty pleased to be in the game and he made a difference."
Deans said his early introduction shortly after halftime was down to what he offered the Wallabies.
"We were looking at what he offered us at that point (in the match). We were starting to get a little bit of momentum and we were looking for a bit of finish and he offers that.
"He worked well off the ball, got off his wing and got involved and made a difference."
O'Connor is now expected to press his claims for the starting side in the Wallabies' next game against Ireland at Auckland's Eden Park next Saturday.
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