The IRFU have confirmed that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ireland's leading professional services firm, are to sponsor the newly-established Irish Rugby Football Union High Performance Unit.
The PwC High Performance Unit (HPU) will be responsible for the development and implementation of a high-performance rugby pathway to cater for the progression of players through to the professional game.
It will concentrate on the identification of elite talent and its development through specialist coaching, professional development and comprehensive performance monitoring of individual players throughout underage and senior representative sides.
All identified players will be given a fully integrated performance pathway on an individual basis and will be constantly monitored and measured to achieve the highest possible standards, allowing the flow of talent to resource the provincial and national teams.
The HPU is a direct implementation of the recent IRFU Strategic Review Plan that identified player development as a key component in the growth of the game in Ireland.
...Ireland internationals Brian O'Driscoll and Kieran Lewis with PwC's Donal O'Connor...
Commenting on the announcement, IRFU President Andy Crawford said: "The PwC High Performance Unit is an integral part of the IRFU's plans to identify and foster playing talent in Ireland. The need to create a constant flow of players for both our provinces and national teams is essential to allow us to compete at the highest level. In this respect, the IRFU is delighted to welcome PricewaterhouseCoopers as a partner to the IRFU and we look forward to a successful relationship."
Speaking at Wednesday's launch at Lansdowne Road, Donal O'Connor, Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "We are delighted to be involved in this important development in Irish rugby. The PwC High Performance Unit is all about taking the best people in their field, providing them with top class training to maximize their potential and supporting them in their challenge to become world class performers.
"At PricewaterhouseCoopers we also look to recruit the best people and develop them through great training and great experience to become world class professional advisors.
"We look forward to working with the IRFU on this exciting new initiative."