Crusaders boss apologises after Rob Penney’s vulgar spray at journalist

Jared Wright
Crusaders coach Rob Penney during warm up ahead of the Super Rugby Pacific

Crusaders coach Rob Penney during warm up ahead of a Super Rugby Pacific match.

The Crusaders have issued an apology after head coach Rob Penney was caught calling a journalist a “c**t” earlier this week.

After winning just two of his first 12 matches in charge of the Super Rugby Pacific powerhouse, Penney is under the cosh and was questioned about his future with the Canterbury outfit.

The exchange occurred at a media briefing following the Crusaders‘ team announcement for the upcoming Super Rugby Pacific clash against rivals, the Blues.

Foul-mouthed Penney

Penney provided punchy answers when asked if he expected to be in the role beyond this season and if he still had the support of the players.

“I wouldn’t be here if they didn’t,” he said.

He added that he gets feedback daily from his players but was not willing to reveal the details of those conversations.

“I get it every minute of every day. They are personal conversations which I’m not prepared to share with you,” he added.

Visibly angry by the line of question from 1News reporter Thomas Mead, Penney was taking off a microphone pack when he asked Crusaders media manager Jack Fletcher: “He’s a disgrace, that c—. Who’s he?”

His spray was caught on camera, and while Fletcher attempted to shut down the conversion until later, Penney insisted, “No, talk to me now.”

WATCH: Under the cosh Crusaders boss lashes out at journo in foul-mouthed rant

Crusaders’ response

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge has since apologised on behalf of the club in statement, which read as follows:

“The Crusaders held a media conference on Wednesday for the purpose of naming our team for the week and discussing the upcoming fixture against the Blues.

“A line of questioning was undertaken from a reporter present concerning Rob Penney’s future as Crusaders head coach. After the media conference had concluded, a private comment to a colleague was inadvertently recorded on third-party microphones, and Rob has since apologised to me for what was said.

“On behalf of the Crusaders organisation, I apologise for the comments he made regarding the reporter. I spoke to the reporter today and he has accepted our apology.”

It’s been a challenging season for the Crusaders after Penney took over from Scott Robertson, with the latter taking charge of the All Blacks in 2024.

The Canterbury outfit won seven successive Super Rugby Pacific titles but will not even make the play-offs in their defence.

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