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IRFU set to introduce David Nucifora as Performance Director

The Australian won a Super Rugby title as head coach of the Brumbies, while Joe Schmidt worked under him at the Blues.

Nucifora during his time with the Wallabies.
Nucifora during his time with the Wallabies.
Image: Andrew Cornaga

THE IRFU WILL officially introduce their newly appointed Performance Director, David Nucifora, to the Irish media on Thursday.

The 52-year-old won two caps for Australia during his playing career, having excelled on the club rugby scene with Queensland. Nucifora was a member of the Wallabies World Cup-winning squad in 1991, appearing off the bench in the 32-19 pool win over Argentina.

The Brisbane native was appointed head coach of the ACT Brumbies in 2002, guiding them to the final of Super Rugby in his first year in charge. After falling at the semi-final hurdle in 2003, Nucifora coached the Brumbies to the title in 2004.

Despite that success, the former hooker was sacked just months later, after 12 senior players in the Brumbies squad signed a letter urging the club’s hierarchy to deal with their concerns around Nucifora’s coaching style.

2005 saw the Australian appointed as a technical advisor at the Auckland Blues franchise, where he then ascended to the position of head coach a year later. Current Ireland boss Joe Schmidt acted as an assistant to Nucifora at the Blues until 2007, when he left for Clermont.

Nucifora stepped down as head coach of the Blues in 2008, returning to Australia where he was understood to be extremely close to securing the Wallabies job that Robbie Deans eventually filled.

Nucifora was to play an important role for the national team, however, being appointed as the General Manager of the ARU’s High Performance Unit in 2009, a role which saw him acting a selector and assistant for Deans, as well as Australia U20s head coach.

In December of 2012, Nucifora resigned from that role, with the ARU denying rumours of discontent in their set-up.

The role of Performance Director in Ireland is likely to include responsibility for managing and increasing the pool of top-quality Irish-qualified playing talent available to head coach Schmidt.

It is not believed that Nucifora’s appointment will involved any shuffle in the coaching set-up for Ireland. This appointment is seen by the IRFU as another forward step in increasing and maintaining the national team’s ability to compete on the global stage.

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Murray Kinsella

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