The fall-out of the decision to axe the Western Force from Super Rugby has claimed its first victim.
The ARU said it had decided to discontinue the Force's Super Rugby licence after weeks of consultation, following its decision to move from five teams to four as the southern hemisphere competition slims down to 15 franchises.
But the fall-out was swift.
ARU Chief Executive Bill Pulver announced his resignation, saying the body needed a "clean slate", and ARU director Geoff Stooke, who is from Western Australia, stepped down in protest at the Force's demise.
"Sports is a difficult business and we have had a difficult year," said Pulver.
"This means it is the right time for me to step down and create renewal."
Pulver's five-year term was set to end in February.
"I would describe this year a as a pretty tough year for rugby," he said.
The Western Force's parent body, Rugby WA, which has backing from mining billionaire Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest, said it was likely to take the team's case to the Supreme Court if it wins the right to appeal.
"Rugby WA remains committed to pursuing every possible means to ensure the Western Force remains a Super Rugby team in Perth," Rugby WA said in a statement after the ARU decision.
"Rugby WA is considering all options including bringing urgent proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW, and legal action relating to the circumstances which led it to enter into the Alliance Agreement with the ARU."