The Crusaders have finalised their coaching group for 2024.
Rob Penney has been confirmed as the new Crusaders Head Coach, while Crusaders centurion Matt Todd takes up the last position in the group.
Penney and Todd’s appointment completes a thorough process to fill the roles left vacant by Scott Robertson and Scott Hansen’s departure to take up roles with the All Blacks starting in 2024.
Crusaders coaching group for 2024:
- Rob Penney
- Tamati Ellison
- Dan Perrin
- James Marshall
- Matt Todd
“I’m excited and honoured to have been selected to lead the coaching group at the Crusaders from 2024 onwards,” Penney said.
Penney said the existing coaching group was “strong and confident” and he looked forward to taking his position within the group.
He coached the NSW Waratahs from 2019 through to 2021 during a tumultuous time for the club and is currently Head Coach for the Japan U20 side who head to South Africa for the World Rugby U20 Championship from 24 June, where a number of current Crusaders are playing in the New Zealand squad.
“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.”
Before Penney tasted victory as a coach around the world, he was a stalwart of Canterbury Rugby. A loose forward, he debuted in 1985 and played more than 100 games for the region before hanging up his playing boots in 1994.
He was assistant coach with the Crusaders in 2005 when we won the Super Rugby title and went on to lead Canterbury to four ITM Cup titles in a row between 2008-2011 – with Scott Robertson as one of his assistants.
He was Head Coach of the New Zealand U20 side in 2012 before taking over as Head Coach at prestigious Irish club Munster where he led the side to the semi-finals of the European Cup in 2013/2014. He left Ireland in 2014 to take up a three-year deal with the NTT Shining Arcs in Japan.
“While I’m excited to get started, my focus for now remains firmly with the Japan U20 side. I’ve loved watching the Crusaders this season and will be tuning in to watch the boys as they chase the title once again,” Penney said.
Grant Jarrold, Crusaders Board Chairman, said Penney stood out from other candidates for his experience, his maturity, and his back-to-back success record.
“Rob impressed us with his leadership qualities, his experience, and his proven ability to innovate on and off the field,” 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.”
Chris Lendrum, New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance said Penney was “a vastly experienced Head Coach who has proven himself throughout the coaching pathway in New Zealand including sustained success with Canterbury in the NPC and provides continuity after playing a part in the Crusaders legacy as an Assistant Coach. He has Super Rugby and overseas experience and is a great example of someone who has worked hard at his trade”.
Rob Penney will join the Crusaders from 1 August.