Nucifora set to coach against Kiwi talent

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Former Blues coach David Nucifora is set to make a return to hands-on coaching across the Tasman.

Nucifora, who coached the Blues between 2005-08, has been confirmed as the coach of the Australian Under-20 team for this year's IRB Junior World Championship.

The former Wallabies hooker took charge of the Blues after leaving the Brumbies under a cloud in 2004, despite coaching the team to that year's Super 12.

He returned to Australia last year to take up the role as the Australian Rugby Union's high performance unit boss.

"There is some sound thinking behind taking this approach with the U20's," Nucifora said.

"One of the main reasons is that it will help deliver continuity through all our development programs.

"In my role as HPU General Manager, I'm dealing with National Talent Squad (NTS) players aged from 15 to 18 years at the entry point for ARU development programs.

"Those players naturally feed into the U20 system and then to Super Rugby and hopefully the Wallabies who are at the top end of the HPU program.

"By having this sense of continuity in the program, we'll always be tracking where players are at in the development pathway; what's working with them on and off the field.

"That can be extremely useful in ensuring the holistic development of an individual."

Nucifora's departure from the Blues ended a seven-year successive coaching period in Super Rugby.

New Zealand won the IRB Junior World Championship last year.

Nucifora's appointment for this year's event in Japan, to be played between June 5-21, is set to see him coach against some leading New Zealand talent he previously mentored during his tenure with the Blues.

"I think it makes sense in this HPU role to utilise my coaching skills set," he said.

"However, I am also aware that developing coaches in our system is crucial.

"To that end, we are asking the four Super Rugby provinces to nominate young up-and-coming coaches who will come in and help with the preparation of the team.

"We will also take one or two of them away to Japan with us.

"They will be coaches in the existing Academy systems or from the club ranks, rather than assistant coaches from the provinces who are already in the professional environment.

"Doing it this way will give us the chance to expose some emerging coaches to higher levels of competition."

Australia has been drawn in Pool D alongside Wales, Canada and Tonga for the IRB Junior World Championship.

The others are as follows:

Pool A: New Zealand, Argentina, Ireland, Uruguay

Pool B: England, Samoa, Scotland, Japan

Pool C: South Africa, France, Italy, Fiji

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