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Rob Penney leaving Munster for coaching role in Japan

Published 11/02/2014 | 14:58

Munster head coach Rob Penney is leaving at the end of the current season
Munster head coach Rob Penney is leaving at the end of the current season

Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald has said that Rob Penney had been offered a three-year deal in Japan and that offering an improved offer on his current deal "wasn't considered".

“In the current climate, the money in rugby is in Japan and France,” says Fitzgerald, “I think [Penney] has got an opportunity of a three-year contract in Japan, it takes him closer to home.”

Munster's current forwards coach Anthony Foley has been widely tipped to succeed the Kiwi having madei t down to the final three in 2012.

“Well I think anyone in any job, if they spend longer doing it, will be more experienced," he added

“The last time when we had the search for a coach, Anthony was in the final three and did exceptionally well at the time. He’s worked exceptionally well with Tony [McGahan] and with Rob. He’s worked at national level and he’s getting much more experience.

“He’s getting wiser all the time. If you ask me ‘When is a person sufficiently experienced?’ At some stage you have to get the head coach position. Anthony will get the head coach position, be it here or if he has offers elsewhere – that has to be taken into account.

“I think you get more experience by the day and Anthony has certainly proven himself at international, U20 level, A level and now with the senior squad.”

Fitzgerald has dismissed the possibility of former Ireland head coach and two-time Heineken Cup winning coach Declan Kidney joining the province as a Director of Rugby, insisting that the current structure would remain in place.

“Our structure is based around having a head coach and assistant coaches. Whilst Ulster have a director of rugby, we haven’t any intention of changing our structure as it works well for us," he said.

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