The Crusaders have become the second of three Kiwi sides to fill their Super Rugby coaching vacancy, appointing Rob Penney to succeed All Blacks-bound Scott Robertson on a two-year contract.

Penney, 59, returns to the Crusaders 18 years after working as an assistant coach to Robbie Deans - winning the title in 2005.

Now, after working as a head coach in the NPC with Canterbury, and gaining experience around the world in Ireland, Japan and Australia at Super Rugby level, Penney will return home to New Zealand and Super Rugby.

"Rob impressed us with his leadership qualities, his experience, and his proven ability to innovate on and off the field," Crusaders board chairman Grant Jarrold said. 

"Our existing coaching group is experienced and has an intricate understanding of the Crusaders' way. 

"As a board, we are excited about Rob's ability to add to this group and guide both our coaches and our playing group to success." 

Penney is well-versed in Canterbury rugby, winning four NPC titles with the red and blacks as head coach from 2006 to 2011, on top of a century of games for the province as a player.

"The Crusaders franchise has a strong history and record of success and excellence, both in on-field performance and off-field culture, and I’m excited to immerse myself into the environment," Penney said.

More recently, Penney worked as head coach of NSW Waratahs for two seasons in Australia, before he was sacked in 2021.

At international level, Penney coached New Zealand's U20 'Baby Blacks' side in 2011 and 2012, winning three games and losing two.

Currently, Penney is with Japan's U20s side at the upcoming World Rugby U20 Championship, held in South Africa. 

Aside from hiring Penney as head coach, the Crusaders have also secured the services of stalwart Matt Todd as an assistant to fill the shoes of Scott Hansen, who will follow Robertson to the All Blacks.

Todd, 35, has been part of Canterbury's coaching staff since 2022, but will take the next step up to aid Penney at the side he played 140 games for.

His acquisition completes the Crusaders' 2024 coaching team, joining Tamati Ellison, Dan Perrin and James Marshall - already part of Robertson's side.

The Crusaders' hiring of Penney, coupled with the Hurricanes' appointment of now-former All Blacks Sevens boss Clark Laidlaw leaves the Blues as the only Kiwi side without a confirmed head coach for next year.

New Zealand-based Moana Pasifika are also without a coach for next season, after the resignation of Aaron Mauger. 

2023-06-05T20:05:52Z dg43tfdfdgfd