How ironic will it be if John O’Neill and Quade Cooper both depart the ARU next Wednesday?
The date – October 31 – has been scheduled as O’Neill’s final day as the ARU boss after 14 years at the helm across two stints.
It’s also the day Cooper has to front the ARU for bringing the game into disrepute after a litany of off-field indiscretions, headed by his toxic environment within the Wallaby squad comment.
And O’Neill will be one of those deciding Cooper’s fate to have his ARU contract renewed in December.
Hardly the way O’Neill would want to end his watch, nor envisaged his last day.
There are a mountain of questions to be answered.
Why has the ARU waited six weeks to bring Cooper to account? The charge is so serious, it demanded to be heard within days while it was hot.
Over the years the ARU has a track record of sweeping too hard to handle problems under the carpet. But to be fair, most of them were in the bad old amateur days.
Since O’Neill has been in the big chair in the pro era, tacky problems have been met head on for transparency. So why not on this occasion?
Why did the Wallabies, in South Africa at the time before they were flogged by the Boks, decide to zip it and make no comment on Cooper’s toxic remark?
Was it a directive from the ARU, on-site Wallaby management, or did the Wallabies decide for themselves?
Which begs another question, will any of the current Wallabies be called into next Wednesday’s high noon meeting to give evidence? The 30-man squad doesn’t leave for their annual spring tour to the northern hemisphere until Saturday.
And in the immediate background are many nervous Queensland Reds. One of their favourite sons, Cooper has signed for the next three years, but there’s no way he’ll stay if his Reds contract isn’t topped up by the ARU.
We all know Queenslanders support each other through thick and thin, that makes them such a competitive sporting state.
It also makes former Wallaby coach John Connolly an interesting benchmark.
A dyed-in-the-wool Queenslander, two weeks ago Connolly suggested a 12-month ban for Cooper which made everyone blink in amazement. But lately he’s backed off, lowering his sights to a big fine.
Just as next Wednesday will be a significant day in Australian rugby history.