Hannah Tyrell reflects on David Nucifora 's reign as the IRFU's performance director

Hannah Tyrell reflects on David Nucifora 's reign as the IRFU's performance director
Alanna Cunnane
Alanna Cunnane

Yesterday it was announced that David Nucifora is to step down from his role as the IRFU’s performance director, with former Ireland player David Humphreys to take up the position in March of next year.

The two will work in tandem until the conclusion of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, which will be Nucifora’s last act in the post.

Former international rugby player Hannah Tyrrell reflected on his tenure on HerSport’s Energia AIL Rugby Show, recalling that he began in the role around the same time she came into the sevens programme back in 2014.


“He did some really good things with Irish rugby, particularly on the men’s side obviously it was very successful. When you look at the women’s side it probably feels like maybe not a success story in that it feels like we’ve only gone backwards,” she says.


“Hopefully things are changing.

“From a sevens perspective, which was the main focus for Nucifora I actually think he did a good job.

“When I came in the sevens programme was in a very different position. Going from struggling to retain core status on the series to now being one of the top teams on the series and we’ve qualified for the Olympics and we genuinely have world class players.

Not all of that is down to him but he absolutely helped facilitate it.”

However, as the ex Ireland fly half points out, the fifteens side of things is a different story.

“Unfortunately I think that has been decimated a little bit because of that,” she says.

“However, it's not all doom and gloom, there has been structures put in place.

“I just wish during his decade long tenure that it had of started a few years younger."

Tyrrell uses recent fifteens debutant Sarah Delaney as a prime example of this as someone who was the first women’s player to play at senior, U20 and U18 international level.

“They’re the pathways that have been put in place the last couple of years and Nucifora obviously had a hand in that but we should have done that seven, eight, nine years ago as opposed to three or four years ago,” she says.

“So there are some good and bad things.”

David Nucifora ‘s exit, David Humphreys’ appointment

As for the appointment of 72 time capped David Humphreys with David Nucifora 's exit, Tyrrell remains hopeful, but hopes he understands the “gap is widening” between Ireland and the top nations within women’s rugby, something that needs to changed, and quickly.

“I’m hoping he comes in and realises this is where the women's games at and the support that it needs and the funding that it needs to push us on,” she says.

“While our aim obviously is WXV2 next year we eventually want to get to WXV1, qualify for a World Cup again and get us moving in the right direction" she adds.

“It will take time and he has a tricky job in his hands because the numbers of females participating in Rugby unfortunately the last couple of years has actually dropped off so we want to change that and revert that back around.

“But I’m hopeful he can do a good job when he comes in and we'll see what happens.”

The HerSport Energia AIL show is brought to you by Energia, think of the possibilities. You can watch the FULL episode over on YouTube.

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