New Zealand

New South Wales Waratahs sack Rob Penney as coach during winless Super Rugby AU season

The struggling New South Wales Waratahs have terminated the contract of head coach Rob Penney.

The Waratahs announced the decision this evening amid the Waratahs’ disastrous Super Rugby AU season.

They sit on the bottom of the Super Rugby AU standings without a win from their five matches.

The New Zealander took over as Waratahs coach ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season.

The announcement of Penney’s departure came less than 24 hours after the Waratahs’ embarassing 46-14 loss to the Queensland Reds at Stadium Australia.

In a statement released this evening, Waratahs officials acknowledged Penney had been coaching “an inexperienced roster of players relative to the other states”.

But they did not believe there was “enough significant improvement in the team” to justify keeping Penney on as coach.

“The decision to part ways with Penney was not taken lightly,” Waratahs chief executive Paul Doorn said.

“Being the coach of the NSW Waratahs is one of the most high-profile and high-pressure roles in Australian rugby.

“Rob is extremely professional and has put a great deal of effort into the role. However, the on-field performances this season have not met expectations and we feel that, in the best interests of the Waratahs, now is the time to make a change.”

Waratahs assistant coaches Jason Gilmore and Chris Whitaker have been appointed as interim replacements for Penney for the remainder of the Super Rugby AU season.

Penney was appointed as Waratahs head coach in late 2019 and brought a wealth of experience to the position.

He had coached Canterbury in New Zealand’s national provincial competition, winning four consecutive championships during his tenure between 2006 and 2011.

Penney took charge of the New Zealand under 20s team in 2011 and 2012.

He also served as head coach of Irish giant Munster and had a stint in the Japanese Top League.

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