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O'Neill steps down from ARU
ESPN Staff
October 12, 2012
Australian Rugby Union CEO John O'Neill talks to the media, Super 14 Season Launch, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia, February 2, 2010
John O'Neill will leave the ARU at the end of the month © Getty Images
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The Australia Rugby Union have announced that John O'Neill will step down as chief executive at the end of the month.

O'Neill was expected to end his time with the ARU when his contact ended in 2013 but he has opted to bring that date forward to concentrate on other interests. Deputy chief executive Matt Carroll will step up to the role on a temporary basis while the ARU seek a replacement.

ARU chairman Michael Hawker said."John's resignation enables the board to put in place new leadership to build on that platform and to drive our substantial agenda over the next five years, while enabling John to focus on his broader business interests,"

"John's commitment to the game over such a long period of time has been extraordinary and we know that will continue in the future. We understand that he also has other commitments and we wish him well in those endeavours."

O'Neill previous led the organisation from 1995 to 2004 before returning in to the role in 2007. In his first stint with the ARU, Australia enjoyed a hugely successful period, winning the World Cup in 1999, capturing two Tri-Nation titles and defeating the British & Irish Lions in 2001.

On his return he was central to the appointment of Robbie Deans as Wallabies head coach in 2008. However the Kiwi has come under increasing pressure as head coach after a lacklustre showing in the recent Rugby Championship as well as accusations of discord within the Wallaby camp.

O'Neill said: "I am honoured during my second term at the ARU to have played a role in shaping the transformation of the game and I look forward to seeing Australian rugby go from strength to strength.

"Australian rugby has a rich culture and a proud history, but we have also been working to rapidly modernise and evolve the game.

"I believe the key planks necessary to drive that development are in place, allowing my successor to build on the solid foundations rugby enjoys and take it to the next level of success."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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