On Saturday night, James O'Connor will be handed one of the most hotly disputed Wallaby jerseys in recent history. He has made it clear he does not intend to give it back in a hurry.

The conjecture surrounding who would be the Wallabies' five-eighth reached fever pitch before Robbie Deans' squad was finalised. Quade Cooper was everywhere, then he was on holiday. And problem child Kurtley Beale was closing rapidly from left-field.

It was O'Connor who was last man standing, despite recurring queries about whether he remained the right man for the job and whether he had the required weapons. Even as late as Wednesday, Wallabies great Stephen Larkham said O'Connor faced a mountain of pressure and still needed to prove he could forge workable combinations with those around him, especially new No.12 Christian Lealiifano.

One game at No.10 for the Wallabies 18 months ago and seven for the Melbourne Rebels this season, six of them in losing efforts, wasn't the ideal resume to submit. But it has only served to make O'Connor more determined to prove he is a solution for the Wallabies, not a problem.

The Wallabies have not gone out of their way to toss any hand grenades into the Lions camp this week but O'Connor was a bright spot on Thursday. Now that the talk is over, he can't wait to show he's the real deal as an international No.10.

''I'm very much up for the opportunity and this occasion. I can't express how pumped up I am,'' O'Connor said. ''I just want to get out there. I've been watching them the last couple of weeks. It's making everyone hungry.''

While O'Connor has made his name in various spots along the back line, five-eighth has always been his favoured position.

But it has been 18 months since he last took up the role for Australia. That he figured in a win against the Welsh, who feature heavily in Warren Gatland's Lions side, may help him settle any nerves at Suncorp Stadium.

''My background, growing up, I played 10. My last game with the Wallabies was at 10 and was against Wales. The Lions do have quite a big Wales component in there so we're quite aware of the background there,'' O'Connor said.

''I'm quite confident. There's a lot of guys around me who have helped my transition there.''

O'Connor is a quality player but anything he lacks in terms of playmaking and kicking will partly be alleviated by the selection of Lealiifano at No.12, who brings a bag of tricks to the table.

How he works with O'Connor will be vital for the Wallabies, especially with the Lions undoubtedly planning to send big bodies in that channel all night.