MUNSTER have appointed Canterbury’s Rob Penney as their new head coach to replace the outgoing Tony McGahan, who is set to take up a role with the Australian national side.
Penney, who will sign a two-year contract subject to obtaining a valid work permit, will take up his new role from mid-July. He will also coach the New Zealand under 20s side during next month’s IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa prior to linking up with Munster.
A coach with a sterling record, the 48 year old Penney has led Canterbury to the ITM Cup provincial championship for four straight seasons. He also served as Canterbury Crusaders assistant coach during their successful Super 14 winning run back in 2005 and as acted as coach of the Crusaders’ development squad.
Munster CEO, Garrett Fitzgerald, expressed his satisfaction at the appointment by saying, “We conducted a thorough search to find a replacement for Tony McGahan and were delighted with the calibre of the candidates. Rob Penney’s record speaks for itself and we look forward to welcoming him to Munster.”
Munster legend Anthony Foley, who was the hot favourite for the job, will continue in his current role as forwards coach. A new backs coach and team manager will also be appointed, following the news that current incumbents Jason Holland and Shaun Payne are to stand down from their respective roles.
It is widely believed that the Munster Branch had whittled the prospective candidates down to a three-man shortlist of Anthony Foley, former All Blacks centre Tana Umaga and Rob Penney.
While Foley was hotly tipped for the position and almost perceived to have been anointed to the role, it is said that the Munster Branch were extremely impressed by Rob Penney’s interview and made to reconsider their thinking as a result.
No names have emerged in the running for backs coach and team manager as of yet, but it is believed that the Munster Branch may have attempted to offer the role of backs coach to Umaga.