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Nucifora rejoins Schmidt in Ireland

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Sportal.co.nz     01 Apr 2014     Getty Images

Nucifora, the former Australian hooker, had Schmidt as his assistant when he coached the Blues in Super Rugby and now Nucifora is to be appointed Ireland's high performance director.

He will take up the role for Ireland's tour of Argentina in June once the future of European club rugby is completed.

Nucifora will relieve Schmidt of some of the workload involved in his coaching of Ireland. He will take an overview of the professional game in Ireland, ensure performance standards are maintained while also growing the depth of top-level talent.

Nuifora's appointment will not affect the roles of assistant-coach Les Kiss and forwards coach John Plumtree.

The Ireland Rugby Union are hopeful the appointment of Nucifora will allow Schmidt to focus more on Ireland's run to next year's Rugby World Cup which is 10 Tests away for the side.

Top of the list for both men will be finding a suitable replacement for retiring centre Brian O'Driscoll.

Ireland have two Tests in Argentina, and autumn Tests against South Africa, Georgia and Australia.

Since leaving the Blues, Nucifora was general manager of the Australian Rugby Union's high performance unit. Nucifora resigned from that position in December 2012.