David Humphreys. Ryan Byrne/INPHO

David Humphreys to succeed David Nucifora as IRFU Performance Director

Nucifora is set to depart at the end of the current season.

THE IRFU HAVE announced that David Humphreys will succeed David Nucifora as Performance Director.

The former Ireland international will step into the role when Nucifora departs at the end of the current season.

Nucifora first joined the IRFU on an initial five-year contract in 2014, becoming the first person to hold the position of Performance Director at the Union.

The Australian will continue with the IRFU until the completion of the Paris Olympics next summer. During Nucifora’s time at the IRFU, he relaunched both the men’s and women’s Sevens programmes and made Olympic qualification a top priority. 

The IRFU’s search for Nucifora’s successor was led by Odgers Berndtson and the interview panel included members of the IRFU senior leadership team, as well as high performance expert Gary Keegan, who has worked closely with Andy Farrell’s men’s squad over recent seasons.

david-nucifora Nuci Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Humphreys is currently the Director of Cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board, a position he took up earlier this year. He previously sat on Cricket Ireland’s High Performance Committee and was Director of Rugby at both Ulster and Gloucester, and a High-Performance Consultant with Georgia Rugby.

During his playing career, Humphreys won 72 caps for Ireland and scored 560 points.

He captain Ulster to European Cup glory in the 1998/99 season and added a Celtic Cup medal in 2004 and Celtic League title in 2005/2006.

Humphreys is set to join the IRFU in March as Performance Director Designate, where he will work alongside Nucifora. From 1 June 2024, Nucifora will then oversee the final preparation programme for the Paris Olympics, while Humphreys will assume full responsibility as IRFU Performance Director.

“In David Humphreys we know we have found someone who believes passionately in Irish Rugby and has the expertise, skills, and desire to keep us competitive on the world stage,” said IRFU CEO Kevin Potts.

“Our search took us globally and ultimately David was the stand-out candidate.

“David’s journey from a schools player to representing his province and then to the national game ideally places him to understand the needs of the player. His local knowledge and 30 years’ experience of elite rugby and immersion in high performance, previously with Cricket Ireland’s High Performance Committee and now his current role with the England & Wales Cricket Board, will bring about enormous benefits and we are excited for the next stage in our evolution.

David’s observations about the development of the system over the last decade showed a deep understanding and I was enthused by his energy and vision for rugby in Ireland and cannot wait to see him bring it to life.

“I would like to thank David Nucifora for the outstanding contribution he has made in building our high performance unit over almost a decade and wish him every success in his future endeavours.

“Of course, before he concludes, there is still much to be done this season, including the upcoming 2024 Six Nations Championship for our Men, Women and U20s as well as preparing our Sevens teams for the Paris Olympics.

“He will leave a solid foundation for David Humphreys to build upon and we are grateful for his commitment to working with his successor through next Spring, ensuring a smooth handover of this key role for Irish Rugby.”

Humphreys added: “I was fortunate to have a wonderful playing career with Ireland and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to play a part in another chapter of Irish Rugby’s history.

“This role is the fulfilment of a lifelong ambition and I look forward to building on the successful systems put in place by David Nucifora, who has been a driving force behind Irish Rugby for 10 years.

“The chance now to further develop the pathways in the Men’s and Women’s game hugely excites me and I am really looking forward to working with all the coaches, provinces, players, and backroom teams to ensure that Irish Rugby continues to go from strength to strength.” 

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