A former player himself, Michael O'Connor played 12 Tests for the Wallabies. Photo: Steve Holland/REUTERS

SYDNEY – Former dual-international Michael O'Connor has been appointed Wallabies selector, Rugby Australia said Wednesday as the governing body seeks to halt the team's poor form ahead of the World Cup in Japan.

O'Connor, who was an independent selector for the Wallabies from 2006-07, joins coach Michael Cheika and director of rugby Scott Johnson on the three-man selection panel.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said the former rugby union and league star has extensive experience in the game through playing, coaching and talent identification.

We believe Michael's skills will complement the skills of both Michael Cheika and Scott Johnson and create a very open and challenging selection environment in an important year for the Wallabies,” Castle added.

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O'Connor, who played 12 Tests for the Wallabies, will start in the role on March 21.

The announcement came two weeks after Stephen Larkham was axed as assistant coach after disagreements with Cheika over strategy and game philosophy.

Cheika has managed to hang on to his job, but from March, he will have to report to Johnson in his newly-created role.

The Wallabies had their worst campaign in decades last year when they won just four of their 13 Tests.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)