MELBOURNE - Exiled Wallabies star James O'Connor says he remains hopeful of representing Australia in the 2015 Rugby World Cup despite planning a short-term move to play in England.
O'Connor revealed on Wednesday he was in talks with several English clubs about a deal "for a few months", but was eyeing a return to the Western Force and the Wallabies afterwards.
His decision comes after he had his contract with the Australian Rugby Union terminated earlier this month and he was suspended from the Wallabies for the rest of the year in the wake of an incident at Perth airport and previous off-field behavioural issues.
The Force had been his last avenue to continue playing professionally in Australia after he was unwanted back at the Melbourne Rebels, with other Super Rugby clubs expressing no interest.
"I have decided that I will be moving overseas next month as part of a short-term playing contract," O'Connor said.
"I am in final discussions with several clubs and will announce the new partnership in coming days.
"I believe the move, for a few months, will be beneficial for me to develop in a different environment and help me be the best rugby player and person that I can be.
"It will also ensure that I continue playing professional rugby immediately and not wait until early in the New Year to resume competition."
O'Connor said his management was continuing discussions with the Western Force about a future deal and he could possibly play the latter stages of the next Super Rugby season.
"Both (coach) Michael Foley and (chief executive) Mark Sinderberry have been great supporters of mine and I greatly appreciate it," he said.