O'Neill puts the boot in (and writes off Wallabies)
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Former Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill has launched a scorching attack on the leadership of the sport he once ran and has opened the door for a return to the troubled code.
O'Neill, who presided over Australia's successful staging of the World Cup in 2003 and oversaw the relaunch of domestic football, told website www.theroar.com.au that rugby was in a "dysfunctional" state and he would contemplate a return to the sport.
Asked if he was interested in working again with the ARU, he said: "Only if the appropriate opportunity was presented.
"My affinity and affection for the game has not diminished and, like many others, I would like rugby to grow and prosper.
"My personal concern is that there is a lack of direction, purpose and leadership at the ARU level. This has exhibited itself on and off the field, with levels of dysfunctionality we have not seen for many years."
O'Neill launched into the International Rugby Board for having dithered over rules to clean up the breakdown. Other issues he believes must be addressed include on-field success, diminishing entertainment value and the need for the ARU to be more assertive about its role.
He also said the Wallabies have next to no chance of winning the World Cup this year in France.
"The All Blacks are miles ahead of the rest of the world," he said.
Get him back and get him back soon. End of story.