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O’Neill hits out at Connolly and critics



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Australian rugby boss John O’Neill has reacted to former Wallabies coach John Connolly and other critics of his frank state of the union address, saying: “We had to recognise the problem to fix it.”

O’Neill came under attack from a number of quarters but in particular he was slated by Connolly in his Sunday newspaper column who had stated that Australian Rugby was near to being broke and that the whole setup needed drastic improvements.

Asked for a response, O’Neill yesterday replied: “I’ve learned to count to ten. I am not going to dignify it with a response formally.” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“It was highly inaccurate and very petty.” he said about Connolly’s comments.

“From September through to January, a lot of chickens have come home to roost,” he said defending his initial briefing. “I had to give a status report.”

O’Neill denied lowballing the ARU finances and said that it was not commonly understood that the governing body would lose AUD $46 million over five years under the current SANZAR TV deal.

“I have had copious emails and letters from people saying: ‘Thank God you said it, because we were worried as disillusioned fans that the ARU wasn’t owning up’.

“This was recognising it, and we’re going to fix it.”


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