Ireland captain Paul O’Connell has spoken of his surprise at the news that Rob Penney is to leave Munster and backed Anthony Foley as a possible replacement.
Munster today confirmed that the New Zealander would be leaving his post at the end of the season along with backs coach Simon Mannix after declining the third year option on his contract.
O’Connell was asked for his initial reaction at the Irish press conference at Carton House today.
“Shock, I had heard rumours but officially today. It’s disappointing, but I suppose he has to do what’s best for him and family,” the second row said.
“He’s closer to NZ, the boys are nearly at an age where they’ll be going to university, they’ll be closer to home and family decisions are important and the players will respect that.”
“Hopefully Munster can continue on his improvements.”
The former Lions captain has also backed Anthony Foley as a potential replacement for the outgoing Penney. The two men soldiered together in Munster and Irish teams and Foley put himself forward two years ago before Penney was chosen as head coach.
“I just heard this morning officially, I haven’t given it a lot of thought. Axel will put hand up and has been waiting for his opportunity. There will be a lot of interest.