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IRFU chief David Nucifora says he didn't block Munster's move for Moore

The Australian performance director suggested the IRFU and Munster’s valuations of the hooker were some way apart.

IRFU PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR David Nucifora says he didn’t block Munster’s move to sign Australian hooker Stephen Moore.

Nucifora, who is in charge of signing off on all transfers into the provinces, stated that he had discussed the deal with the province but suggested that there had been a disagreement over the value of the contract offer to Moore.

AustraliaÕs Stephen Moore Moore signed a new ARU contract last week. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Nucifora said Munster did offer a contract to the 102-times capped Wallabies hooker and that the approach had been rejected.

Moore’s stature in the rugby world meant a strong contract offer would have been required to lure him to Ireland, and it is understood that the 32-year-old was extremely open to the prospect of joining Munster for such terms.

But speaking yesterday in a media briefing at the Aviva Stadium, Nucifora suggested the IRFU had been unwilling to sanction such a deal.

Nucifora said that reluctance centred around the fact that Moore would have still been eligible to play international rugby for Australia, after the ARU introduced a rule allowing foreign-based players with more than 60 caps to be selected for the Wallabies.

Without the IRFU’s willingness to finance the deal Munster felt would be required to secure Moore, the province would have made an approach from a far weaker position.

“Munster came to us with Stephen and said ‘This is what we’d like to put forward’. There’s a whole range of things that we think about that go into these decisions,” said Nucifora.

So having a player that’s still eligible to play international rugby that’s going to cost a province a lot of money, is that the best use of the funds available at that point in time, where he’s going to be missing for a large portion of the season? Probably not.

“It’d be nice to have him but it’d be nice to have him for the whole year. The fact that people have said that we blocked it, it wasn’t blocked. I think you’ll find that there probably was an offer made to Stephen Moore. It just wasn’t accepted.”

Last week, the Queensland Reds confirmed the signature of Moore from current club Brumbies, whom he captains. The hooker will make the move to the Reds after the 2016 Super Rugby season, with his new ARU deal keeping him in Australia until 2019 at least.

In a wide-ranging, hour-long discussion with a number of rugby journalists at the national stadium yesterday evening, Nucifora underlined the IRFU’s belief that promoting young Irish players within the provinces is the route to ensuring national team success.

David Nucifora Nucifora cited an example where the IRFU has rejected Leinster's move for a back row. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

His conviction is that the talent being produced within this country can be supplemented by a higher quality of import from abroad, rather than middle-tier non-Irish qualified players.

Ulster attempted to make a move for a South African second row who could potentially quality for Ireland under the three-year residency rule recently, but were discouraged from doing so by the IRFU as the player in question was already in his late twenties.

Nucifora cited another example where one of the provinces had attempted to bring in a back row, with the IRFU declining, and pointed out that a young player has excelled in the eastern province’s back row instead.

If I gave you an example of something in recent times, a foreign player put forward in the last couple of months would have cost in excess of €200,000 a year,” said Nucifora.

“There’s a young Irish player who’s been given an opportunity in the last few weeks and a few of you guys have noted how well he’s done. He’s probably earning a 10th of that amount.

“Now why would we have that player if he’s not getting regular opportunity, why wouldn’t we be choosing that boy to fill that spot where the proposed foreign player is being put forward to us?

“There’s talent, there’s opportunity and then there’s the quick-fix model.”

Read much more from IRFU performance director David Nucifora on The42 throughout Wednesday morning.

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Murray Kinsella

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