Sport Union Ex-Wallabies star charged after Paris nightclub drug bust

Ex-Wallabies star charged after Paris nightclub drug bust

James O'Connor has played 44 Tests for the Wallabies. Photo: Getty
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Former Wallabies star James O’Connor has been charged by French police with possession of cocaine, according to reports.

Agence-France Presse reported that O’Connor — who was held in a Paris cell over the weekend — was charged and then released from custody on Sunday (French time).

The 26-year-old is facing drug-possession charges, but ex-All Black Ali Williams, who was with O’Connor at the time, is reportedly facing the more serious charge of buying cocaine.

While Williams will face court, O’Connor may be able to escape with a fine for his indiscretion.

The pair was allegedly caught handing over cash to a drug dealer outside a Paris nightclub on Saturday morning (French time).

They reportedly had 2.4g of cocaine in their possession when searched.

O’Connor, who plays rugby for top French club Toulon, is out of contract in July and was in talks about extending his deal with the Top-14 side.

What the charge does to his chance of securing a new deal remains unknown after club president Mourad Boudjellal said they would wait before making a decision.

“It does seem as though there has been wrongdoing,” he told Agence-France Presse.

“But even when you kill someone, you still have a hearing first. That is how it must be.”

Williams, 35, has been “temporarily suspended” by his club, Racing 92, which also plays in the French competition.

His club said in a brief statement that “if the investigation confirmed the possession of cocaine and the transaction, it would not only be against the law but also a serious breach of our ethics”.

O’Connor burst onto the international rugby scene at the age of 18 after a series of stellar performances with the Perth-based Western Force.

He went on to play 44 Test matches for the Wallabies between 2008 and 2013, before the Australian Rugby Union [ARU] sacked him following an incident involving alcohol at Perth Airport.

O’Connor, who remains ineligible to play for the Wallabies, said in November he had a “burning desire” to represent his country again.

“I want to be playing for the Wallabies,” he said.

“I watch all the games and, speaking to all the guys, it’s the pinnacle of rugby.

“That burning desire is there to pull on that jersey again.”

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