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Why Rob Penney was the ‘ideal candidate’ for Crusaders job

By Finn Morton
Waratahs head coach Rob Penney. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Crusaders’ decision to appoint former Waratahs coach Rob Penney as Scott Robertson’s successor from next season may have come as a surprise to some, but not Israel Dagg.

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Rugby World Cup winning fullback Dagg believes Penney was the “ideal candidate” to take over as the Crusaders’ head coach, and has explained why on New Zealand radio.

As revealed in a statement by the Crusaders, Penney said that he’s “excited and honoured to have been selected for the role.”

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Penney was an assistant coach at the Christchurch-based franchise in 2005, and went on to coach Canterbury in New Zealand’s provincial competition, and later the NSW Waratahs.

But things didn’t quite go to plan across the ditch.

The 59-year-old won just 24 per cent of his matches with the Waratahs – a seven from 29 record. Penney also failed to save the Urayasu-based Shining Arcs from relegation in Japan.

But the Crusaders have made their choice, and former All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg clearly believes it’s the right one.

“It was only (a) one-man race that one,” Dagg told SENZ Breakfast.

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“They weren’t going to go outside of the region.

“He’s had a big influence here in Christchurch, so Rob Penney was the ideal candidate.

“He’s got a really good connection with the community, players – knows a lot of them, he’s coached them in Canterbury.

“He went over to the Waratahs, that didn’t eventuate, he went over north – I think it was Munster – and he’s got a lot of experience.

“So well done to Rob Penney.”

As for this season, the Crusaders have a home quarterfinal against the Fijian Drua to play this weekend. The Drua famously beat the champions in Fiji earlier this season.

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