DFP Header Area

Penney in awe of Munster work ethic

Guinness PRO12 Editor

28 Aug 2012

There has been a huge turnover of players at Munster in the last couple of years but according to new coach Rob Penney the indomitable work ethic remains alive and well at Thomond Park.


Few teams face the weight of expectation that Munster carry despite seeing the spine of their side that dominated European rugby for so many years retire or move onto pastures new.

Into the fray steps New Zealander Penney and he has been left in no doubt that he will be expected to mould a new-look squad into one that can compete in both the Heineken Cup and RaboDirect PRO12.

Yet while Penney accepts the club are in a transitional period, he is relishing the prospect of fighting on two fronts.

“I think it is a really exciting challenge,” he said at the launch of the RaboDirect PRO12 in Glasgow.

“What it allows you is to grow the depth of the you men to support the internationals that will be coming in and out of the competition depending on the time of year.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that when the internationals are not available that the depth of talent that is capable and able to continue top performances.

“That is the expectation because Munster has high expectations. When the internationals are back they feel they are now responsible for continuing the great work done the guys have done so there’s a double responsibility.

“The challenge of having two championships operating simultaneously during the season I think is going to benefit us. I find it really exciting.

“Someone is going to do the double sooner or later and it would be fantastic to be a part of a group to do that. We have got some foundation steps to put in place first because we are going through a transitional period.

“What I have been impressed by is the work ethic of the boys. That’s one thing I really admire is their pre-season work ethic.

“If you can harness that work ethic and create a layer of rugby knowledge and tactical appreciation and skill that is able to work in conjunction with the work ethic up here then I think there are some exciting times for rugby up here.”

Penney arrived at Munster after coaching Canterburyto a record-equalling fourth consecutive ITM Cup title as well as taking charge of the New Zealand Under-20 team.

And while he took charge maintaining he knew the ins and outs of the RaboDirect PRO12, there was one player he knew better than most – new signing Casey Laulala.

“Casey is a quality kid,” he said. “I have been working with Casey since he was 18 at Canterbury and to say he is highly regarded in Cardiff Blues would be an understatement.

“It is wonderful to be able to reconnect with him at this stage of his career as a mature leader in rugby environment and he will be fantastic for us. I have no doubt about that.

“It will be a really interesting competition. I have no idea right now who is going to win it.

“There are some really capable sides on it and on their day they are all capable of beating each other.

“The RaboDirect PRO12 certainly does have a profile down under. It has got a great profile.

“The rugby people in New Zealand know about what’s happening in the Rabo and where it sits. It is well known.

“To me the RaboDirect PRO12 is an exciting programme and there are some exciting players within it.”