A Penney for Munster fans' thoughts as McGahan's successor is named
After weeks of speculation about the identity of the new Munster coach, the province have confirmed that New Zealand native Rob Penney will take up the reins at the start of next season.
Penney was one of three names thought to be in contention to succeed the departing Tony McGahan in the summer and the current Canterbury and New Zealand under-20 coach has been handed a two-year contract which will begin in mid-July as long as there are no issues with a work permit.
Anthony Foley, initially thought to be the favourite for the head coach role, will continue in his capacity as forwards coach, but with youth on his side, he’ll surely have his eyes on the top job at some stage down the line.
Penney is expected to finalise his management team once he arrives at Munster, so although it would seem to reduce the exciting possibility of Tana Umaga arriving in the south of Ireland, the door isn’t fully closed just yet.
Commenting on Penney’s appointment Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald said: "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.”
Penney, 48, has been head coach of Canterbury since 2006 and took them to their fourth straight ITM Cup national provincial title last season.
He was assistant coach when Super Rugby outfit Crusaders won the Super 12 title in 2005 and has acted as a Development Squad Coach for them in the time since. Before he arrives at Munster, Penney will be in charge of the New Zealand under-20 side, who will attempt to defend their title at the IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa next month.
With a name like Penney, we were hardly going to resist the opportunity to throw out a few obvious puns, so let us suggest that it was a toss of a coin between the new man and Anthony Foley and Munster went for the New Zealand native on the basis that coaches of his ilk aren't exactly ten a Penney these days.
It remains how he will cope with the pressure of coaching such a prestigious and well known outfit, but Munster fans will be hoping he turns out to be worth every... cent.