The IRFU High Performance Unit hosted a Leadership Forum in the Aviva Stadium this week for the senior provincial leads in Coaching, Athletic Performance & Physiotherapy, along with senior representatives from the Sevens programme.
The day-long forum, facilitated by IRFU Head of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Phil Glasgow, featured discussion sessions with two leading exponents of the development and understanding of leadership functions – Prof. Seamus Kelly (Professor of Organisation, Technology and Society, UCD) and Prof. Sean Dorrance Kelly (Chair of Philosophy and Dean of Faculty at Harvard University).
Speaking about the Forum, IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora commented:
It’s been a key part of our strategy for a number of years to look at investing in the development of our people. We are trying to create an environment that has cooperation, that has cohesion, alignment.
“All of those things were we are all helping each other get better. I think if Irish Rugby can continue to work in that manner where we are all looking to improve each other that makes us a pretty powerful little group.”
From a coaching perspective, in attendance were Andy Friend (Connacht), Leo Cullen (Leinster), Johann van Graan (Munster), Dan McFarland (Ulster), Stan McDowell (Development Coach & Talent ID Sevens), and James Topping (Assistant Coach Men’s Sevens)
From Athletic Performance, David Howarth (Connacht), Charlie Higgins (Leinster) Denis Logan (Munster), Tom Clough (Ulster) and Allan Temple-Jones (Sevens) were present.
From a Physiotherapy professional perspective, Garret Coughlan (Connacht), Gareth Farrell (Leinster) Damien Mordan (Munster), Chris McNicholl (Ulster), Jo Montgomery (Women’s Sevens) and Orla Armstrong (Men’s Sevens) were all in attendance.
Other members of the IRFU High Performance Unit in attendance on the day were Performance Director David Nucifora, Anthony Eddy, Director of Women’s and Sevens Rugby, Head of Coach Development Matt Wilkie, Medical Director Rod McLoughlin and Head of Athletic Performance Nick Winkleman.
Phil Glasgow added:
For the last year or more we have been looking at how we develop leadership but leadership in the right way. What does it look like in our context, what does it look like for each individual to lead and to lead collectively as a team and also to facilitate interdisciplinary working.
“I would absolutely love to see this as an ongoing thing, I think it’s hopefully the first of many opportunities to come together and recognise that there is a multiplier effect whenever we bring people from across the IRFU system. I think it can only be good for the system and it’s good individually and collectively.”