Major changes are afoot within the management of Women’s and 7’s rugby in the IRFU. Sport for Business has reported that they have seen an email sent last night from Head of Performance David Nucifora which confirms that Jon Skurr has left his position as manager of the Women’s 7’s team with immediate effect. The same is the case with the team’s Head of Fitness Ross Callaghan.
A new role as Director of 7’s and Women’s Rugby has been created and an appointment to this role is being finalised. Another new position covering fitness within the Men’s and Women’s 7’s teams and the Women’s XV squad is also close to being finalised.
Nucifora joined the IRFU as Head of the High Performance Unit in July, having previously filled the same role with the Australian Rugby Union. He joined the 7’s team at last weekend’s Dubai Invitational tournament which the Irish side captured playing in front of a 30,000 crowd.
This was played alongside the World Series event which is the aim of the team to reach again after dropping out of the elite group at the end of last season. That was a serious blow to hopes of qualifying for the Rio Olympics in 2016 and it is clear that changes have been in mind for a while.
The Women’s XV came under the high performance unit headed by Nucifora in recent weeks and this is seen as a significant step forward in both the facilities available to the team and the respect they are accorded as a group who made it to a World Cup semi final.
The 7’s team benefited from a €3 million investment announced in March 2013 which has enabled them to play and train at a higher level but the initial results were not as good as hoped for and it seems the time for action to reverse that has arrived.
Late last week we wrote of the disappointment that the team would not get to repeat their match at the Aviva Stadium as part of the 2015 RBS 6 Nations Championship, a sentiment that drew large support from across the sports and business community.
Hopefully the new sense of purpose around what might previously have been seen as secondary teams will mean a brighter future off the pitch for Women’s Rugby, to match the achievements of the players on the highest stage.
The above article is reproduced with the permission of Sport for Business.