Penney reports for duty with Munster
July 19, 2012
Rod Penney has reported for duty with Munster ahead of the new PRO12 season © Getty Images
Kiwi coach Rod Penney and his assistant Simon Mannix have linked up with Munster ahead of the new season and already met with Ireland boss Declan Kidney.
Penney, who takes charge of Munster following Tony McGahan's departure, flew into Ireland last weekend having taken a short break following last month's IRB Junior World Championship where his New Zealand side were beaten by South Africa in the tournament finale.
Both Penney and Mannix, who joins Munster's back-room team from Racing Metro, wasted no time in getting down to business with a coaches meeting on Sunday in Cork before heading to Limerick to take charge of their first training session.
The squad is set to be bolstered by the return of their international contingent next week ahead of their first pre-season clash away at La Rochelle on August 10 with matches against Bristol and London Irish set to follow with both games taking place at Musgrave Park.
And Penney has revealed that he has already held a productive meeting with the Ireland coach. "We had a great meeting yesterday and had a very open and robust discussion with Declan, which was a great start for me personally," Penney told the Irish Times. "If we can have those open channels of communication, I don't think there'll be any hiccups. It is often when you get surprises that anxiety occurs or friction. I couldn't speak highly enough about what the Irish boys said yesterday, to allow us an insight into what they are thinking."
Penney was also full of praise for the Munster squad who have already made an impression on their new boss. "Having a really close look over the last few days since I arrived on Monday, I can't speak highly enough about their endeavour, their attitude to their work and their commitment to what's required," he said. "It has been exceptional and both Simon and I are in awe of the effort, energy and excitement that the young blokes are bringing.
"Once you have that, if you have the hard work ethic and a desire to do well, you are well down the path to creating some talented individuals. Now it is up to us to expand their knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and when they are doing it. Their greater knowledge of technical - and more so tactical - awareness is the key for us. We have got the work ethic and we can see that; we have got a group of men that are prepared to work hard for each other. We have come into an organisation that is in transition, but is well equipped to deal with the challenges ahead."
"There is enough experience amongst it to create a sense of security for the younger blokes and it is just about now putting older heads on younger men's shoulders as quickly as we can through discussions and through education and ensuring that we have got total alignment across the group about how we want to play and what we are trying to achieve."
Fellow Kiwi Mark Anscombe has also recently begun work with Irish rivals Ulster having taken over from Brian McLaughlin, who took Ulster to the Heineken Cup final last season. His side will face Leicester Tigers at Ravenhill on August 18 and Newcastle Falcons a week later.
Munster kick off their PRO12 campaign away to Edinburgh on the weekend of August 31/September 1 while Ulster play host to Glasgow.
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