Toulon star James O’Connor looks set to be reprimanded by club president Mourad Boudjellal following the Australian’s arrest on Saturday night in Paris for suspected cocaine possession.
Speaking to French newspaper Le Figaro, Boudjellal was candid about the presence of recreational drugs in sport and while he wishes to speak to O’Connor personally before passing judgement on the 26-year-old, he conceded that things did not look good for the Australia international.
“He will not escape a suspension, of course.
“I’ll talk to him. He’s a 26-year-old kid, I’m not here to destroy him. But I am not there to promote him either. It’s a complicated story. I still want to know who knew the dealer.
“But I really feel cocaine has been invited a little in the festive environment. And that’s a bad thing. We had the alcohol stage, now it’s a step up because cocaine is festive, it disappears easily. It has to stop. So I want to know if it’s an isolated case or if there are other players who like to party.”
Speaking about the ongoing contract extension negotiations between the club and O’Connor, Boudjellal was similar frank.
“He is a kid who has problems, who is 26 years old. Whatever decision I make, I will consider everything.
“Let’s say that for his contract extension, it has relaunched the debate. We are not going to prolong it.
“We’re already going to try to manage this season. But I do not want to overwhelm him.”
The 44 times capped Wallaby now faces an uncertain future. With doors seemingly closing all around him at the south of France club, O’Connor may have no other choice than to seek new opportunities elsewhere come the end of the season.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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