Count me out, Nucifora tells Waratahs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Count me out, Nucifora tells Waratahs

By Darren Walton 04/04/2008 04:51:24 PM Comments (0)

David Nucifora has reaffirmed his disinterest in coaching the NSW Waratahs amid mounting speculation he is poised to take on the role of high-performance unit manager with the Australian Rugby Union.

Nucifora, as coach of the Auckland Blues, is more intent on knocking NSW out of Super 14 finals contention at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night than replacing Ewen McKenzie as Waratahs coach next season.

The former Wallabies hooker said he had not received any phone calls from the NSW board and nor would he be sounding out the Waratahs about filling one of the hottest seats in Australian sport.

"At this point in time, I really don't have any genuine interest in the Waratahs job," Nucifora said.

"It's just speculation out there. I've got another year on my contract to run with the Blues. There's an option in my contract to take that year up (if I want to) and I am happy.

"It's been a great four years with them and I really enjoy working with this team.

"So, at this stage, the answer would be no (if the Waratahs asked). I'm happy to stay with the Blues."

Until, that is, he signs on the dotted line with the ARU - and it is understood that is all but a done deal.

Nucifora admitted he'd had some "informal discussions" with ARU chief John O'Neill about the role but denied he was the frontrunner to take over from Pat Howard.

"If people are going to speculate on anything, it's better to be included than not," he said.

"(But) it's damn hard doing this job (coaching the Blues) week-to-week. You know, getting your team prepared so all the speculation that comes up with other jobs, it makes it quite difficult.

"So I'm sure that will sort itself out over the coming month or two.

"I'm under no time pressures, which is great because it lets us concentrate on this job, which is a pretty tough one at times."

Should Nucifora take up with the ARU, McKenzie - who has also been linked to the position - would almost certainly head overseas, most likely to coach French Top 14 club Stade Francais.

Ironically, McKenzie is now in the same situation Nucifora was in at the Brumbies in 2004 when he was told mid-season his coaching contract would not be renewed at the end of the season.

The Brumbies went on to win the title and Nucifora said he expected McKenzie to handle the situation just as professionally.

"You just move on," Nucifora said.

"You deal with it as best you can. Each individual I'm sure deals with it in a different way, but Link (McKenzie) is an experienced coach and he knows he's got a job to do and a job to finish.

"I'm sure it won't sway his focus from preparing his team each week.

"Really, for Ewen and myself, all we want to do is get on with just preparing our team as best we can each week."

Dual international Mat Rogers said he didn't blame Nucifora for not wanting to coach the NSW Waratahs, describing the job as a "poison chalice".

Rogers also claimed an "us versus them" mentality at the Waratahs may derail hopes of a Super 14 title under a new coach.

"I don't blame him," former Waratah Rogers said in his ninemsn blog.

"It seems to be the poison chalice of world rugby."

Rogers, who now plays for the Gold Coast Titans in the NRL, said it would take more than a coaching change to break the Waratahs' Super 14 title drought.

"I know there are a lot of long-suffering Waratah fans out there longing for a Super 14 title," he said.

"What a change of coach will do, however, is probably not much."

Rogers said he didn't know what effect the coaching announcement would have on NSW for the rest of the Super 14 season.

"Given the fact that Ewen is a tremendous guy, I would like to think it might inspire the team to do well and finish the year on a high for him.

"The other side of that equation is the reverse effect and an absolute capitulation.

"(But) with Phil Waugh as team leader I can't see the absolute capitulation taking place."

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