Penney's man for Munster

Kiwi to ink two-year deal

Des Berry

CANTERBURY coach Rob Penney, 48, will take over at Munster in mid-July on a two-year contract, subject to securing a valid work permit.

The edge in winning experience is what eventually convinced Munster to choose the New Zealander over current assistant Anthony Foley and former All Black captain Tana Umaga.

While there is a shake-up expected in the coaching set-up, future head coach Foley has been retained as forwards coach, the area of Penney's primary expertise.

This will make for an interesting blend. The chemistry between Penney and Foley could just be the difference between success and failure.

Penney played 101 times for Canterbury between 1985 and 1994. The former number eight was an All Black trialist in 1991, captaining the province in the 1992 and 1993 seasons.

He has won an early release from his Canterbury contract and will journey north after he finishes his involvement as head coach to New Zealand at the U20 World Cup in South Africa.

While Penney has been passed over for numerous Super-15 Franchise head coach roles, there are those who believe he has lost out to higher profile names without the same depth of curriculum vitae.

For instance, he has been able to steer Canterbury to the last four consecutive National Provincial titles since he moved into that role in 2006.

Before that, he manned the role of assistant coach to the Canterbury Crusaders 2005 Super-12 championship winning squad.

"We conducted a thorough search to find a replacement for Tony McGahan and were delighted with the calibre of the candidates," Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald said.