Nucifora not ready to talk about next move


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Departing Blues coach David Nucifora expects that he will be able to confirm his rugby future “within the next week or so.”

Nucifora resigned a short while ago and will return to his native Australia where he has been linked with the job of heading the Australian Rugby Union’s high performance unit.

He said today that he remained interested in the position, but was also working through the specifics.

“We’re looking at altering that role a little bit so it’s one that’s suitable to what Australian rugby needs but also suits my skills and what I can offer. So we’re working through those things,” he told NZPA.

However, Nucifora is also not closing the door on hands-on coaching.

“I love coaching and I would miss it if I walked away from it altogether. I still think I have something to offer.

“I still want to improve as a coach. Hopefully there will be a coaching role if I decide to go down that path,” he said.

Nucifora joined the Blues as technical advisor after guiding the Brumbies to the 2004 Super 12 title.

In his three seasons as coach, he took the Blues to the semi-finals once which happened in 2007 where they lost to the Sharks in Durban.

This season, the Blues made a flying start and led the table after round three, but injuries brought on a mid-season slump seriously damaged their playoff chances.

They finished the round robin stage sixth after closing with three successive wins.

“Our aim was to be consistent, but unfortunately we had that patch in the middle where we dropped off,” he said.

“Most teams have had that this year. They’ve not been able to hold it together. That’s the nature of this competition. The beauty of it is that intensity over a 14 to 15-week period,” he said.

When he first took over as coach, Nucifora said he detected a “fractured” approach within the Auckland-based franchise.

Today, he said one aspect of his time with the Blues that he had considered a success was in how the team prepared.

“Hopefully the players individually and collectively carry that on. It’s just about them realising their responsibilities as professional players and understanding how to prepare and perform week to week,” he said.

Of his own development, Nucifora, 46, said he was a better coach now than when he arrived in Auckland.

There was not any one thing he could single out, but he had benefited overall from the experience of living in New Zealand and coaching New Zealand players.

As to the differences between being a rugby coach in New Zealand and being one in Australia, he said it was a question people in Australia had often asked him.

He said he found the best way of answering was to tell them to imagine if the Australian Football League stronghold of Melbourne had only one team rather than nine.

In New Zealand, the fact that rugby was the dominant sport meant the expectations and the resulting pressure on players was that much higher.

“It’s probably just the fact that all the eggs are in one basket here. In Australia, there’s a lot of different codes of football that people are interested in and it’s not so intense,” he said.

Nucifora said he could not tip the winners of this year’s Super 14 apart from believing the Sharks would find it tough being on the road for their semi-final against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.

The Crusaders host the Hurricanes in the other semi-final, which will also be on Saturday.

“I’d be struggling to make a prediction at this point in time to be honest,” Nucifora said.

“But I don’t think the Sharks will get there. I think they will find it hard being away from home. I think it will come from one of the other three teams,” he said.


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