Who will replace Rob Penney at Munster?
February 7, 2014
Anthony Foley (left) holds the Heineken Cup trophy aloft in 2006 © Getty Images
After the shock announcement that Rob Penney will leave Munster at the end of the season, we look at the leading contenders to take up the reigns at the Irish province.
Anthony Foley: The early favourite at odds of 4/11, Foley needs no introduction to Munster fans. After collecting two runners-up medals, Foley captained Munster to Heineken Cup victory in 2006. Foley was a one-club man, accumulating 202 appearances and 39 tries for Munster to go along with his 62 Ireland caps. Since his retirement he has coached with the Wolfhounds, and been forwards coach for both Munster and Ireland.
Mike Ruddock: The current head coach of the Ireland Under-20 set-up, Ruddock demonstrated his managerial credentials when he led Wales to the 2005 Six Nations in his first season in charge. A contract dispute saw him leave the national side and, after taking Worcester to the Amlin Challenge Cup final, he switched allegiance to Ireland and is 8/1 to replace Penney this summer.
Kidney may be in line for a return to Munster © Getty Images
Declan Kidney: Replacing Rob Penney would surely be a popular homecoming at Munster for Kidney, who led the club to Heineken Cup triumphs in 2005 and 2008 during his second spell at the club. He went on to work his magic with the national team in 2009, as he orchestrated Ireland's first Six Nations Grand Slam since 1948 at the first attempt. He currently works as a director at University College Cork and has odds of 8/1 to take the Munster job for a third time.
Ronan O'Gara: O'Gara would be a popular choice after accumulating 240 appearances for Munster over the course of 16 years. A return to Munster at some point in the future would be a safe bet, but replacing Penney this summer seems premature for the current Racing Metro coach. However at 10/1 he seems an unlikely candidate after distancing himself from the job on Friday.
Eric Elwood: After drawing the curtain on a playing career which included 168 appearances for Connacht and 35 international caps, Elwood coached the Ireland Under-20's in 2006 and 2007 before returning to the province as director of coaching in 2009. He stepped down in 2012 after taking the club into the Heineken Cup for the first time and recording a league finish of eighth - Connacht's highest league finish to that point - and joins O'Gara on 10/1.
O'Sullivan is a long shot for the Munster job © Getty Images
Nick Mallett: Mallett rose to prominence in 1997 as he guided South Africa to a winning streak of 17 consecutive Test wins, which included going undefeated on the way to a Tri-Nations title. He led the Springboks to the 1999 World Cup semi-final, before winning back-to-back domestic titles with Stade Francais in 2003 and 2004. His most recent achievement of note was leading Italy to their famous 22-21 victory over France in the 2011 Six Nations, and is 10/1 to continue his coaching career at Munster.
Eddie O'Sullivan: An outside bet at 20/1. O'Sullivan is one of the most respected figures in Irish rugby after an seven-year tenure with the national team. Though he guided Ireland to three Triple Crowns in 2004, 2005 and 2007, a Six Nations title and Grand Slam eluded him. More recently he has returned to coaching the USA, where he started his coaching career, and led them at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He is currently working for Garryowen RFC.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
Chris Smalling has said Manchester United have yet to begin negotiations with him about a new contract but he is eager to stay at Old Trafford
Luis Suarez graced the Anfield turf again on Sunday and vowed that if he ever returned to England, it would only be to play for Liverpool
Andrew Kellaway is one of 12 players from the national championship-winning NSW Under-20 side named in the Australia squad for the Oceania championship
Fiji win the 40th Hong Kong Sevens, defeating reigning champions New Zealand 33-19 in the Cup final for their 15th title
Queensland are worth watching again, even if victory over the Lions would have papered over cracks, because Quade Cooper is back in the No.10 jersey, Greg Growden writes
In a exciting return from injury, Quade Cooper thrilled fans to become Player of the Round, while a new star now leads the medal tally
The Hurricanes have always been a franchise rich on talent, but something was always awry; not any more as they look the real deal Sam Bruce writes
In the latest edition of ESPN's Week in Words, Dion Dublin makes something of a career change, RFU officials have some harsh words for the national team, and Kell Brook is eyeing a bigger prize...
Six months after being victim of a machete attack that left him fearing for his life, Kell Brook dished out a vicious attack of his own in his a first world title defence
Kell Brook is not waiting for Amir Khan to make up his mind about fighting him and hopes to face either Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez or American Brandon Rios this summer
Patrick Kluivert has revealed he did not follow Louis van Gaal to Manchester United as his No.2 last summer as he was holding out for a managerial role instead
Danny Welbeck believes signing for Arsenal has helped him to improve his international form for England
Rory McIlroy walked off at the Honda Classic. What next for the Northern Irishman?
Join Steve Bunce and Barry Jones each week for the latest news, views and debate from the boxing world.
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte, 28, (14-0, 11 KOs) tells ESPN where his rivalry with Anthony Joshua stems from and outlines the plan for his career this year after returning from a doping ban in November