(Reuters) - Rob Penney will replace fellow New Zealander Daryl Gibson as New South Wales Waratahs coach on a three-year contract, the Super Rugby team announced on Wednesday.
Penney, 55, brings a strong coaching pedigree to his new role, having guided Canterbury to four consecutive National Provincial Championship titles between 2008 and 2011.
In his two years with Munster, he helped the Irish side to consecutive European Champions Cup semi-finals, and in recent seasons has been coaching Japanese Top League club NTT Communications Shining Arcs.
Penney’s appointment at Waratahs follows a disappointing 2019 campaign under Gibson, who resigned in June with 12 months remaining on his contract.
The season was heavily disrupted by the protracted sacking for his social media posts of Israel Folau — the most prolific try-scorer in Super Rugby history — and the Waratahs finished with a 6-10 win-loss record.
NSW Rugby Union chief executive Andrew Hore said the position attracted a “vast level of interest from across world rugby” but Penney was appointed on the basis of his experience in player development.
“Rob is an extremely experienced coach who embodies the characteristics we (Performance Committee) identified for our ideal candidate,” Hore said in a statement.
“Rob’s appointment is the result of an exhaustive recruitment process – speaking volumes for the calibre of coach we’ve been able to secure for the Waratahs.
“With a strong history of player development across each of his previous roles, I have no doubt Rob will harness the wealth of talent coming though our pathways and build sustainable success for the Waratahs in Super Rugby.”
Penney said it was an honour to join the leading club in Australian rugby.
“To be given the opportunity to help this playing group get the most out of both themselves as individuals and as a collective is an exciting one.
“I’m looking forward to contributing to the betterment of Australian rugby, ensuring we have a working environment at the Waratahs to foster the young talent already assembled.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty