sport

Nucifora set for Ireland role

Former Wallabies hooker David Nucifora is expected to be installed as the Irish Rugby Football Union's high performance director later this week.

The 52-year-old's appointment should be formally confirmed once the future of European club rugby is resolved.

The IRFU is understood to be keen to tie up the negotiations on the competition to replace the Heineken Cup before completing the formalities on Nucifora's new role.

Former Brumbies and Blues front-rower Nucifora will assume a post designed in part to ease some of Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt's workload, and he will travel to Argentina for their two-Test tour in June.

Nucifora's wide-ranging remit will be to take an overview on the professional game in Ireland, ensuring performance standards and helping maintain and expand the depth of top-level talent.

Appointment

The two-cap Australia forward's appointment will not affect the make-up of Schmidt's backroom staff, with the roles of assistant coach Les Kiss and forwards specialist John Plumtree remaining unchanged.

The IRFU hope this appointment will allow Schmidt to focus yet more intently on Ireland's long drive towards Rugby World Cup 2015.

Ireland face Argentina in Resistencia on June 7 and again in Tucuman on June 14.

Schmidt's side have 10 full-blown Tests before the 2015 World Cup in England, and Nucifora's addition to the IRFU set-up should allow the New Zealander total focus on the job of preparing Ireland's World Cup assault.

Schmidt worked as Nucifora's assistant at the Blues in Super Rugby in 2006 and will have ratified the IRFU's move.

After coaching the Brumbies and the Blues, Nucifora assumed the role of general manager in the ARU's high performance unit.

Nucifora resigned his ARU post in December 2012, closely following managing director and chief executive John O'Neill's exit.