Nucifora gets tips from Brits

David Nucifora hopes some of the time he spent in Britain will prove useful as the Blues strive to win the inaugural Super 14 title. [more]

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David Nucifora hopes some of the time he spent in Britain will prove useful as the Blues strive to win the inaugural Super 14 title.

The Blues coach made a fact-finding tour of Europe over the northern hemisphere summer, taking in training sessions at several European Cup contenders.

In addition, the Australian crossed sports to watch Premiership football club Newcastle United prepare for their 2005/06 campaign.

And Nucifora thinks the sojourn was more than a busman’s holiday.

He said: "We looked at rugby clubs primarily, but our sponsors, who also sponsor Newcastle, organised for us to spend some time up there.

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"We enjoyed it and we hope to have struck up a relationship."

The former Brumbies coach now feels an affinity to the club, but believes his period with the rugby teams may have been of more technical value.

"I look up Newcastle’s [Falcons] results," he added.

"They had a tough start, but they’ve come good. I am keeping an eye on it.

"We also spent a bit of time at Saracens and Wasps and some time with the Welsh Rugby Union and in France with Stade Francais."

He did not reveal any closer links with any of the clubs he visited, but did not rule out a future link-up involving players that had not made the Blues in the draft pick.

"Place them over in the UK? It’s not out of the question," he said.

"Our CEO (David White) has just left to go to Bristol, so maybe Bristol is a hiding ground for us!"

One ex-Aucklander already in Britain is All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu.

Nucifora said the wing was never considered for next year’s Blues Super 14 squad, having been ruled out of North Harbour’s NPC campaign this year following shoulder surgery.

But he did not exclude the possibility of linking up again, especially if Lomu does well with Cardiff over the next few months.

The odds on Lomu’s dream of an appearance in the 2007 World Cup are lengthening, but a return to Eden Park for the 2007 campaign would put him back in the spotlight.

Nucifora said: "I hope it goes well for Jonah in Cardiff. It would have been pretty difficult for anybody to pick him at this level of football; if he does well in the UK I’m sure people are watching.

"Time will tell, but I’m sure everyone hopes he’ll do well."

Another former Blue who will be missed by Nucifora is Mils Muliaina.

The versatile international moved to Waikato and the Chiefs after helping Auckland to the NPC title.

"He’s a sound player, Mils," Nucifora said. "It’s disappointing not to have him.

"It’s certainly the Chiefs’ gain. A lot of things are out of your control."

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