Terry O'Connor (rugby league)
13 October 1972 |
Widnes, Lancashire, England
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|Weight||18 st 2 lb (115 kg)|
Terry "Tez" O'Connor (born 13 October 1972) is an English former professional rugby league footballer and commentator for Sky Sports. A Great Britain, England and Ireland international and Lancashire representative Prop or Second-row forward, he played his club rugby for English clubs Salford, Wigan and Widnes.
Born in Widnes, Lancashire, O'Connor was picked up from local Widnes side St Marie's after also playing for Widnes Tigers. He was a former BARLA international and toured New Zealand with them in 1991. Also on the tour was Darren Fleary, Paul Anderson and Barrie McDermott, all of them went on to gain full international honours.
Professional playing career
In 1990 Terry signed for Salford, and played for them for three years. He had the opportunity of signing for Wigan, St Helens, Warrington, Leeds and Bradford, but chose Salford as his childhood hero Steve O'Neill was part of the coaching team, along with Kevin Tamati. He was awarded Salford's young player of the year in 1991. He played in the Regal Trophy quarter-final against Wigan at the Willows and was awarded the Man-of-the-Match. He joined Wigan in 1994 for a Salford record transfer fee of £95,000 and New Zealand International Sam Panapa. Salford also got a further £10,000 when Terry played for Great Britain.
Whilst at Wigan he went on to win the Challenge Cup, Charity Shield, Regal Trophy, Premiership, Championship. Terry O'Connor played Right-Prop, i.e.number 10, in Wigan's 25-16 victory over St. Helens in the 1995–96 Regal Trophy Final during the 1994–95 season at Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield on Saturday 13 January 1996. He made his début for Great Britain team in 1996 on the South Pacific tour. O'Connor played for Wigan at prop forward in their 1998 Super League Grand Final victory against Leeds. O'Connor played for the Wigan Warriors at prop forward in their 2000 Super League Grand Final loss against St. Helens.
In his time at Wigan, O'Connor played 317 first grade game and was voted into the Wigan and Super League team of the decade. He was a mainstay of the Wigan pack for a decade and enjoyed a testimonial in 2004 for his services to Wigan. Terry donated part of his testimonial money to under privileged children, which allowed them to go on holiday to Euro-Disney back in November 2004. In the history of Wigan RLFC, only 27 players have worn the Cherry and White top more than him.
Terry was also named in the SL dream team on 4 occasions in 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 and was also named in the SL team of the decade between 1996 and 2006. O'Connor was also the 1st prop forward to be named on 4 occasions in the dream team.
O'Connor joined his hometown club Widnes at the end of the 2004 season. He captained the side in 2005 but with the introduction of Catalans Dragons to Super League in 2006 meant that the team who finished 11th were relegated and it was unfortunate but Widnes finished 11th ahead of Leigh. Terry played on for one more year in the National League for Widnes and got to play his last competitive game in the Grand Final only to be beaten by Hull Kingston Rovers. He was also joined in his last year by his good friend Barrie McDermott they both retired in 2006.
O'Connor went on to represent Ireland at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup and went on to captain the Irish on numerous occasion. The side earned fabulous reviews under the guidance of Terry and his best friend Barrie McDermott. O'Connor also represented Lancashire in the Origin Series in 2001 and 2002 and never lost against arch rivals Yorkshire. He was awarded the Roy Powell medal for his performance in the 2001 series. O'Connor retired from Great Britain in 2002 with 15 caps.
After retiring from playing the game in 2006 O'Connor took on the role of Sporting Director at Widnes along with his role at Sky Sports, appearing in light-hearted features with Barrie McDermott as well as serving as a pundit for the coverage of lower-league games.
O'Connor is still heavily involved in charity work for former players and local under privileged children.
In 2017, O'Connor replaced the retiring Mike "Stevo" Stephenson on commentary for Super League on Sky Sports.
- "13th January 1996: St Helens 16 Wigan 25 (Regal Trophy Final)". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "Coach gets a double". Evening Chronicle. 2004-03-25. Retrieved 2009-01-01.