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Crusaders apologise to journalist after Penney's expletive

By Ben Smith
Head Coach Rob Penney of the Crusaders hugs Fletcher Newell of the Crusaders after the win in the round six Super Rugby Pacific match between the Crusaders and Chiefs at Apollo Projects Stadium, on March 29, 2024, in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge has apologised on behalf of the organisation to 1News reporter Thomas Mead after coach Rob Penney’s offensive remark.

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After a tense line of questioning around the Crusaders performances this season and the head coach’s tenure with the team, Penney vented to a Crusaders’ staffer while still mic’d up.

“He’s a disgrace that c…,” Penny said to Crusaders media manager Jack Fletcher, “Who is he?”

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Fletcher replied: “I’ll talk to you later” to which Penney replied, “I’ll talk to you now.”

In a statement issued by the Crusaders, Mansbridge issued a formal apology to the reporter while offering assurance that Penney had approached him already with sincere regret.

“The Crusaders held a media conference on Wednesday for the purpose of naming our team for the week and discussing the upcoming fixture against the Blues,’’ Mansbridge said.

“A line of questioning was undertaken from a reporter present concerning Rob Penney’s future as Crusaders head coach.

“After the media conference had concluded, a private comment to a colleague was inadvertently recorded on third-party microphones, and Rob has since apologised to me for what was said.

“On behalf of the Crusaders organisation, I apologise for the comments he made regarding the reporter. I spoke to the reporter today and he has accepted our apology.’’

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