Queensland captain James Horwill does not believe player feedback should be a factor when the Reds mull over signing James O’Connor.
While a staunch defender of the Reds’ culture, Queensland captain James Horwill said player feedback should not determine whether wayward Wallaby James O’Connor joined the Super Rugby club.
The Western Force baulked at O’Connor returning on a 2015 deal after the cooling of a vigorous process including extensive talks with players late last year and again recently.
Horwill said Queensland prided themselves on their team first culture but did not believe a player opinion poll should be a major factor when deciding whether to sign 44-Test back O’Connor, who had a history of being a disruptive influence.
“I have had discussions with the organisation but, in the end, it is up to the guys in charge,” he said.
“You do consult senior players but I think you can get in trouble consulting 35 players.
“If you do that for every player, you are never going to sign anyone.”
Queensland emerged as the sole Australian franchise interested in O’Connor, who burnt the Force and Melbourne Rebels due to a history of misdemeanours and his attitude.
O’Connor claimed he had changed after an English Premiership season with London Irish and wanted to link with an Australian team in a bid to play at next year’s World Cup after a lucrative French stint with Toulouse.
The prospect of luring a more-mature O’Connor would be enticing for a Queensland side on a five-game losing streak due to a lack of strike power.
“I am not sure where things are with James but I do know the organisation and the coaches would only make decisions in the best interest of the team,” Horwill said.
“That’s what they pride themselves on.
“Any decision made on any player will be based on what is in the best interests of the entire playing group and for the standard this organisation upholds.
“I have full faith in the board, the organisation and coaching staff to do that.”
But Horwill said they could only look within to solve their current woes ahead of Saturday night’s Suncorp Stadium clash with the Rebels.
He said the Reds were desperate to end their losing run and extend a proud record of being the only Australian franchise the Rebels have not beaten.
“The guys are obviously hurting. Adding to that is that we know we are not playing as well as we can … but you have to keep going,” he said.