The IRFU’s Performance Director David Nucifora has announced details of ‘IQ Rugby’ which will be responsible for the identification, development and management of overseas Irish qualified talent.
The purpose of IQ Rugby is to broaden the player talent pool available to Irish provinces and representative sides and to complement the player development pathway that has been established within Ireland over the past few years.
The programme, which will support both players and coaches who have the potential to represent Irish Rugby at the highest levels, will be headed up by Joe Lydon, and it will work in tandem with the existing Exiles structure and will identify and support Irish-qualified talent who are passionate about representing Ireland.
IQ Rugby’s activity in the UK and further afield will be coordinated by Lydon in his role as Head of International Talent ID and Development. He will be supported on the ground by Talent Identification coaches Wayne Mitchell and Kevin Maggs, the former Ireland international (pictured below).
David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented: “The last number of years our focus has been on player development pathways here in Ireland and we feel that we have got those up and running to a high level. Our focus now has moved into the Exiles area where we have developed a programme called IQ which is basically a performance arm of the Exiles where we will be seeking to further identify and develop Irish qualified talent.
“We recently employed Joe Lydon as head of the IQ Rugby programme. Joe’s role will be to oversee the identification and development of all Irish qualified players that are overseas.
“He comes from a background of running the talent identification processes and talent development pathways for both the RFU and the Welsh Rugby Union so we are really fortunate to have a guy of Joe’s experience in our staff.”
Head of International Talent ID and Development, Joe Lydon, spoke about the team on the ground that will be supporting the IQ programme, stating: “We are working hard to build on the strong foundations and proud history provided by the UK Irish Exiles programmes over a number of years.
“Providing more resource to both compliment and support the Irish Exiles network, IQ Rugby Talent ID coaches Wayne Mitchell, Kevin Maggs and myself will be focused on the identification and development of Irish-qualified talent, providing further opportunities and support to players and coaches who have the potential to play and coach rugby at the highest level within and possibly for Ireland.”