Rob Penney left to ‘apologise to everyone’ after another Crusaders defeat

David Skippers
Crusaders players and Rob Penney.jpg

The Crusaders players and head coach Rob Penney.

Crusaders boss Rob Penney could only “apologise to everyone” after his team suffered another Super Rugby Pacific defeat this year courtesy of their loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday.

That 32-29 reversal was their ninth loss out of 11 matches for the season which is their worst ever return in Super Rugby as it exceeds their previous record of eight which they suffered in their maiden season in 1996.

Their latest defeat means the Christchurch-based outfit are now in 11th spot from 12 teams in Super Rugby Pacific and while they still have a chance of making the play-offs, it’s becoming less likely with just three rounds of matches of the league phase of the competition left ahead of the quarter-finals.

Consoled by former All Black

After Saturday’s loss – which was the Highlanders’ first win over New Zealand opposition in more than three years – former Crusaders and All Blacks scrum-half Justin Marshall, who now works as a commentator for Sky Sport New Zealand, tried to console Penney by saying: “Keep your head up. The franchise and the people are certainly behind you and we appreciate your time.”

“I appreciate your messaging,” replied Penney. “Coming from you, that’s awesome, but there are some hurt boys in there. They’re not treating this lightly.

“We’ve had that week-in, week-out.

Ex-All Blacks U20 star drowns Crusaders with massive 27-point haul as Highlanders finally beat another New Zealand side

“The hurt’s there. The evidence just needs to be more obvious, for the supporters and the public to see that the boys are really willing to do what they need to do to get the outcome or the performance that we would love to have.

“I’d just apologise to everyone.”

Crusaders must win their last three league fixtures

The Crusaders’ last three league fixtures will be against the Brumbies (away), Blues (home) and Moana Pasifika (home) and they simply have to win all those matches if they want to reach the tournament’s quarter-finals.

As things currently stand on the Super Rugby Pacific table, only the Waratahs are below the Crusaders but all the teams can still reach the play-offs.

The Fijian Drua currently occupy eighth position in the standings with 17 points while the Sydneysiders are just five points adrift.

Apart from the Crusaders, who are second from bottom, the Western Force and Moana, who are in ninth and 10 places respectively are also trying to reach the play-offs.

READ MORE: All Blacks wing powers Blues to crucial win over Hurricanes to go top of Super Rugby Pacific