Former Australian international David Nucifora has been appointed as Irish rugby's Performance Director on a five-year contract.
Nucifora, a former General Manager of the High Performance Unit with the Australian Rugby Union, was capped twice by the Wallabies and coached Super Rugby franchises, the Brumbies and Blues.
This new role in the IRFU's professional structures will see Nucifora responsible for planning and evaluation, the elite player development pathway and succession planning and professional coach development and succession planning.
He will also oversee national team performance, provincial team performance, national age-grade teams and Women's team performance, sport science and medical services, elite referee development and National Professional Game Board (NPGB) and policy development.
"The IRFU is delighted to announce David Nucifora as Performance Director after a worldwide search for an individual that will help develop and enhance the professional structures within Irish rugby," said IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne.
"David's extensive experience in this area will be a significant addition to Irish rugby's continued success in the professional game, ensuring that both playing and coaching talent is developed to provide a prosperous long-term future for the provincial and national teams."
"Irish rugby is in rude health, Ireland are RBS 6 Nations champions and the provinces are performing well in both the domestic and European competitions," said Nucifora.
"That said, there are a number of challenges facing the professional game in Ireland and I am excited by the prospect of playing a role in meeting those challenges.
"I look forward to working with the national and provincial coaches as well as those in charge of the other representative sides."