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Crusaders coach Penney has no plan to step down

By Ben Smith
Head Coach Rob Penney of the Crusaders reacts prior to the round four Super Rugby Pacific match between the Crusaders and Hurricanes at Apollo Projects Stadium, on March 15, 2024, in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Crusaders head coach Rob Penney insists he will be at Rugby Park in 2025 as pressure intensifies surrounding the side after a 2-10 season.

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In a tense exchange with media Penney offered a blunt “no” when asked if he would consider stepping down as Crusaders head coach.

“Yeah, I’m boxing on, the same as always,’’ he said.

“As far as I know, nothing has changed for me, or any of the other staff. We are already looking forward to next year, of course, because you are always projecting and planning.”

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When a Director of Rugby role was floated, he responded with “don’t know why that would be muted”, as the awkward interview spiralled.

“How would you like me to respond?” he asked back about his response following the Brumbies defeat. Penney looked puzzled at the assertion that he “looked defeated” after the loss.

“Disappointed for the boys, fundamentally,” was how he summed up his feeling after the game.

On the rut this season and responsibility for the results, Penney was unified with the team.

“We are all in this together. We will endeavour to put on a great performance this week against the Blues,” he said.

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Asked if he would do anything differently, Penney responded “in what way?” multiple times before highlighting “critical moments” as the reason for the Crusaders’ losses this season.

“We’ve been close a number of times, there has been moments where for one reason or another we haven’t won the pressure points, get ourselves in front or have consistency so that would be something we would endeavour to improve.

Penney refused to portion blame to any one area of the operation saying he would “leave that to others”.

“All I know is everyone in the organisation is working really hard to get the outcomes that are deserving and we would love to see,” he said.

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The Crusaders season is still alive with the possibility of qualifying for the eight-team playoffs should they win their last two games starting with key rivals Blues this weekend.

The ex-Waratahs and ex-Canterbury head coach is contracted on a two-year commitment that runs through to the end of 2025.

 

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