Australia rugby chief to step down

Australian Rugby Union boss John O’Neill has announced he will step aside when his current contract expires in two years’ time.

Australian Rugby Union boss John O’Neill has announced he will step aside when his current contract expires in two years’ time.

As the fallout out from the Wallabies’ comprehensive 20-6 defeat at the hands of the All Blacks continues, the veteran administrator revealed he’ll move on at the end of 2013.

O’Neill, who is in his second term at the helm of the ARU after a stint with Football Federation Australia, says his replacement has already been decided as part of a succession plan.

However, he says no decisions have been made around who will coach the Wallabies when Robbie Deans comes off contract after the British and Irish Lions tour at the end of 2013.

“That won’t be my call,” O’Neill told reporters in Auckland when asked if Reds coach Ewen McKenzie is next in line to replace Deans.

“My contract is up at the end of 2013 and it will not be a decision that will involve me.

“If I’d left as originally intended, 30 June next year, I would not have involved myself in Robbie’s extension – that was in agreement with the board.

“The board that is in situ for 2013 will be making those calls and I’ll be preparing to ride off, probably much to the relief of some people, into the sunset and it would be inappropriate for me to be involved in that.”

O’Neill praised the Wallabies’ World Cup efforts despite falling well short against the All Blacks in Sunday’s lop-sided 20-6 defeat.

“It’s not a successful campaign but the board from the outset said the pass mark was making the semis, so we’ve got a pass mark,” he said.

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