A quirk of the draw means kiwi Penney returns to the South Island of New Zealand, where his coaching career really took off.
He won four successive national provincial titles with Canterbury, where one of his assistant coaches was Scott Robertson, who has coached the Crusaders to three straight Super titles.
“He’s been a great contributor to the teams he’s been involved with,” new boss Penney said of Robertson.
“He’s a great coach. He’s a really good thinker, a really good people person.”
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Penney also applied for the Crusaders head coaching role – almost 10 years earlier – but missed out to Todd Blackadder.
“We need a few things to go our way and obviously we need to play bloody well,” Penney said.
“We probably need to play one of the best games that we’ve played in a while.
“They’ve got a hungry group, a group that has lost a wee bit of experience out of the core group, but they’ve still got the guts of a really strong unit.
“There’s a number of reasons why they’ll want to go well.
“Being at home, that record of 31 (straight home wins) they won’t be looking at that as a burden.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 29, 2020
“They will be looking at that like it is the wind at their back to drive them on to greater things, so we’ll need things to go our way.”
Penney isn’t expecting any special reception for his return.
“I don’t think there will be one really,” he said.
“There will be a few family and friends dressed in blue which will be lovely, but I think I’m irrelevant, really it’s about the game and the boys.”
– with AAP
Fiji fans feel new coach Vern Cotter is the right appointment to take them forward:
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