Ireland's Rugby World Cup review results not to be released publicly

David Nucifora-led team to report back to the union by the end of November

David Nucifora, IRFU, performance director, is leading the review into Ireland’s World Cup displays. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The post Rugby World Cup (RWC) review into the Irish team performance in Cardiff and London last month will be completed by the end of November.

The review will be led by IRFU performance director, David Nucifora, who has already been talking to the principle individuals in the management and playing roster.

Although the IRFU received €2.6 million in direct funding from the State last year as outlined in their annual report, the results of the review will not be made public, despite Ireland once again crashing out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage.

Since the RWC started in 1987, it has been no better than quarter-finals and defeats for Irish teams.


Nucifora was appointed by the IRFU in June 2014 after a time as the general manager of the high performance unit with the Australian Rugby Union. Capped twice by the Wallabies and a former coach with the Brumbies and Auckland Blues, his responsibilities cover a number of areas within Irish rugby.

Succession planning

They include planning and evaluation, elite player development, national team performance and succession planning among several other areas.

England, who failed to advance from of the group phase, are also conducting a review, although in a marked difference to how the IRFU are conducting their post mortem, English rugby have sought the expertise of several independent figures from outside the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

The panel consists of Ian Richie, the RFU chief executive, Ian Metcalfe, the professional game board chairman, Ben Kay, a former England World Cup winner, Ian Watmore, an England 2015 board member and Ian McGeechan, the former Lions and Scotland coach.

The inclusion of Richie on the panel has been heavily criticised in Britain as he was responsible for enthusiastically appointing England coach Stuart Lancaster in the first place.

Independent expertise

The conformation of the England panel also begs the question of how the Irish review would be received elsewhere as Nucifora, a highly respected individual in the world of rugby, is an employee of the IRFU and will lead the review into Ireland’s failure to advance without the input of external, independent expertise.

In essence the IRFU and its personnel are investigating and ultimately responding to many of the decisions the IRFU was responsible for making in the first place.

While Nucifora’s integrity is unquestionable, questions might arise around the issues of absolute transparency and independence.

It is believed the review will go to the National Professional Game Board chaired by Gordon Hamilton and with IRFU CEO, Philip Brown, the provincial CEOs, Des Lamont, John Hartery and IRUPA chief Omar Hassanein as members.

The IRFU declined to answer whether the players were compelled to take part in the review. England players, who are contracted to their clubs outside of international events and not to the governing body as Irish players are, did not have to participate if they did not wish to. It is not known who did or did not.

“The RWC15 review is part of an ongoing evaluation process which reviews all aspects of national team performance across a playing season,” said the IRFU in an email.

“The RWC15 review will involve compiling player and management feedback and input from the provinces. The review will be managed by IRFU performance director David Nucifora with a completion date set for the end of November. The findings of all national team reviews are confidential.”

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times