Penney set to drop in at Scarlets
ROB Penney has emerged as the strong favourite to succeed Wayne Pivac as Scarlets head coach.
The 54-year-old New Zealander spent two years in charge of Munster and was named coach of the season in what was then the Guinness PRO12 in 2014.
Since then he has been working at Japanese side NTT Communications Shining Arcs.
Pivac will leave the Scarlets to take over as Wales boss from Warren Gatland after the 2019 World Cup and current Scarlets backs coach Stephen Jones will follow him into the international set-up.
It’s left the Scarlets hierarchy to look for replacements with New Zealand the primary area of focus. Scarlets general manager Jon Daniels has confirmed the Llanelli-based outfit have a strong shortlist of up to six coaching candidates.
WalesOnline understands Penney is at the top of that list and a final decision will be made over the next fortnight.
The Scarlets are searching for a coach who holds a similar philosophy to Pivac and who is willing to embrace the freeflowing brand of rugby they have played in recent seasons.
Penney fits that bill having enjoyed tremendous success as head coach of Canterbury who he led to four successive ITM Cup titles. He has also been at the helm of the Junior All Blacks.
While Jones will join Pivac with Wales, there will still be an element of continuity in the Scarlets back-room team.
Forwards coach Ioan Cunningham and defence guru Byron Hayward are both set to remain in Llanelli, while Stormers backs coach Paul Feeney remains a contender to take charge of the Scarlets’ attack having spent time in Llanelli over the past few weeks.
Should he take the Scarlets reins, Penney will be boosted by an increased budget after the region set themselves the target of becoming the first Welsh side to win the Champions Cup.