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What Rob Penney had to say after Crusaders beat the Blues

By Ben Smith
Coach Rob Penney of the Crusaders shakes hands with Codie Taylor after winning the round 14 Super Rugby Pacific match between Crusaders and Blues at Apollo Projects Stadium, on May 25, 2024, in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Crusaders head coach Rob Penney was embroiled in controversy this week but his team responded in emphatic fashion to upset the Blues at home.


After an awkward exchange with the media, Penney’s faux pas was caught on mic and made headlines all week.

On a special week for the Crusaders celebrating the players of the past, Penney said that the overriding emotion from the hall of fame night rallied the players into a positive frame of mind.

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“As always I’m really proud of the performance, the guys dug deep,” Penney told Sky Sport NZ.

“It was so fitting after last night’s hall of fame, the boys really drew on the emotion that those ex-players showed up on stage.

“They represented the jersey with what you’d expect from a Crusader. That was awesome.”

Reflecting on the chaotic build-up the head coach took ownership of his comments and was just pleased that the incident didn’t derail the Crusaders performance.

“At the end of the day, I’ve got to be better too,” he said.

“I was really disappointed the way that interview ended the other day. I’ve just got to be better.


“It could have potentially been a distraction for the players, just so proud of their reaction to it.”

The Crusaders lifted for one of their best showings of the season in front of an energetic crowd which the players praised as being “loyal” to the side.

Facing with the strength of the Blues pack, the home side lifted in key areas like the set-piece with the All Blacks lifting to gain supremacy.

Penney explained that the way the Crusaders have managed the minutes of their front rowers this season is really paying dividends at the back.


“It’s such an important set-piece, isn’t it? We all know if you have some creakiness in your scrum, you are going to get put under pressure,” Penney said.

“Dan Perrin, DP, has done a massive job with those front rowers, rotating them, keeping them fresh, as we get to the pointy end it is really starting to pay dividends for us.”

After using a number of 9-10 halves combinations this season, the young Noah Hotham and returning Fergus Burke had the Crusaders’ attack firing.

First five Burke in particular, caught the eye of Penney who he highlighted as the “difference” in a refreshed Crusaders system.

“Our attack has been a bit clunky, we’ve talked about it often. We haven’t had the synergy that we would have liked to have got out of our attack,” Penney said.

“Today it came off a bit more regularly for us, it wasn’t perfect by any means, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

“Having Fergus Burke back, a 10 that has been around the organisation for awhile and can run a ship, has just made a real difference.

“And that’s only his second game and a great credit to him after a long injury layoff.”


Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV


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Troy 27 days ago

Regardless of this result Penney should be yesterday's man. His record as a Super rugby coach is abysmal and the Crusaders organisation need to cull him now to stop the rot setting in. The Crusaders won't make the playoffs ( outside results will go against them), so he needs to be judged on that and his general performance throughout.
Can't say I'm not enjoying it - go the Hurricanes!

Craig 28 days ago

Very good for NZ rugby and show that the team respect the coach.

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