Munster close to decision over McGehan replacement
MUNSTER are on the verge of announcing a head coach to replace Tony McGahan and have dismissed New Zealand reports ruling Rob Penney out of contention as "speculation", writes Hugh Farrelly.
New Zealand media claimed yesterday that the Canterbury coach had been "overlooked" by the province but Munster, who have scheduled a press conference in Cork CIT for tomorrow, said there was no foundation to those claims.
Penney said earlier this week that he would not be seeking an early release on his Canterbury contract. He is due to coach the club in the ITM Cup, which runs until October, and is contracted to oversee the New Zealand U-20s in next month's Junior World Cup.
"I've got a real focus at the moment on the New Zealand U-20s," said Penney. "I'm contracted to do the ITM Cup and I'm really looking forward to being a part of that again."
Penney is one of three names in for the Munster job, along with Reds' forwards coach Anthony Foley, the long-standing favourite, and former New Zealand captain and Counties Manukau coach Tana Umaga.
The announcement on the new coaching ticket was due to be made before the end of April but was postponed; the attention is proving a distraction as McGahan's side go about retaining their league title.
Munster lie third in the table -- a point ahead of Glasgow Warriors, who are at home to Connacht on Saturday -- and take on Ulster in the final round of regular-season Pro 12 fixtures at Thomond Park also on Saturday before the semi-final play-offs the following weekend.