Friday 20 October 2017

David Nucifora sets his sights on back-door Rio Sevens berth

Incoming IRFU performance director David Nucifora (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Incoming IRFU performance director David Nucifora (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

IRELAND could make a late bid to participate in the Sevens competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics if incoming IRFU performance director David Nucifora gets his way.

The Australian begins work in the new role on June 1 and is a known advocate of the shortened game from his time in a similar role Down Under.

Up until now, the Union has been resistant to the idea of a national team competing on the Sevens circuit due to the cost, but sent an U-19s team to the FIRA European Sevens championship last weekend, where they won the plate competition.

While the front-door route to Rio is closed to Ireland as they don't compete in the regular IRB tournaments, there is a repechage for countries below the core nations to bid for a place.

Given the lack of preparation, a place at the Games is highly unlikely, but the arrival of Nucifora could herald a shift in emphasis on the controversial Sevens issue.

The marketability of the shortened game will be seen when Thomond Park hosts a World Club Rugby Sevens festival in August, with Munster set to face off against Fijian club Daveta Rugby and teams from Saracens, Stade Francais and Western Province.

The Limerick venue has landed the inaugural tournament, which will take place on August 9 and 10, a week before Twickenham hosts the World Club Sevens, which will include many of the same teams.

Tickets for the event are on sale, starting at €12.50 for adults and €5 for children.

* To buy tickets visit ticketmaster.ie and for more details on the event see worldclub7series.com.

Irish Independent

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