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Australia Rugby Union head O'Neill steps down

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive John O'Neill will step down from his job at the end of the month, the organization said on Friday.

The decision ends O'Neill's second tenure in charge at the ARU, having led the organization from 1995 until 2004 before he left to join Football Federation Australia.

He returned to the ARU in 2007 and was instrumental in attracting Canterbury Crusaders coach Robbie Deans from New Zealand to coach the Wallabies after Deans missed out on the All Blacks job.

O'Neill was expected to step down in 2013 when his contract ended but had chosen to bring that forward to concentrate on his other business interests, the ARU said in a statement.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Julian Linden)

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