Still no new coach for Canterbury

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 12/05/2012
Rob Penney
JASON OXENHAM/Fairfax NZ
NO NEW COACH: If Canterbury have begun searching for Rob Penney's replacement they are keeping it quiet.

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If Canterbury have begun searching for Rob Penney's replacement they are keeping it quiet.

Having accepted Penney's resignation last week after he signed a two-year deal with Irish club Munster, Canterbury are still "working through their options" chief executive Hamish Riach said yesterday.

Although he was light on detail it is understood the union's management will discuss their options, such as whether to advertise the position, before making a recommendation to the board who have not formally met to discuss Penney's departure.

If advertised, the plum position is likely to attract plenty of interest.

Former Canterbury forward Adrian Kennedy, who played for the province's A and B teams in the 1980s and 1990s and has amassed around 12 years' coaching experience in New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and England, has confirmed he would be interested in applying if the job is advertised.

Kennedy now lives in Christchurch after returning to the city from South Africa last summer and is involved with coaching Marist-Albion in the Christchurch metro club competition. In South Africa he was employed as forwards coach for Eastern Province and in 2008 and 2009 he was head coach for Taranaki.

Despite chairman Stew Mitchell being overseas, the board can still meet in his absence and the union will be aware of the need to appoint a head coach as quickly as possible. Canterbury's defence of their ITM Cup title begins against Tasman on August 24.

Penney has already publicly stated his assistant Tabai Matson, who he recruited as his backs coach to succeed John Haggart, should succeed him as head coach and another assistant, Scott Robertson, should also be retained.

Matson and Robertson would have expected to assist Penney – who is set to leave with his wife and three sons for Ireland after he has coached the New Zealand under-20 team at next month's world championships in South Africa – again this year because he was contracted until the end of the year.

Their futures are now in limbo while they wait for the board to make a decision.

A former All Blacks midfielder who played five midweek matches in 1995-96, Matson began assisting Penney in mid-2009.

Although his head coaching experience is limited, he has proved a popular figure among the Canterbury players.

Matson has also been integrated into the Crusaders coaching setup as a skills coach.

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- The Press

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