24 Apr 2024

Coach Rob Penney tells Crusaders 'be brave, do more'

11:57 am on 24 April 2024
Rob Penney Coach of the Crusaders, 2024.

Rob Penney Coach of the Crusaders, 2024. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Crusaders coach Rob Penney says he's in a good space and just concentrating on the job in hand.

Penney's side is bottom of the Super Rugby Pacific standings with just one win from eight games.

It's a far cry from where the 14-time champion Crusaders have been in recent years.

They're coming off a humiliating 37-15 loss to the Western Force.

"It's just all part of the job," Penney said at a media conference on Wednesday.

"We're not where we want to be and within the organisation there is a bit of anxiety around that, but I'm doing really well and just focused on what's in front of us."

Penney is in his first year with the Crusaders after taking over from now All Black coach Scott Robertson, who won five titles in their various forms.

Penney says he's had discussions with the organisation which he described as "honest but very supportive, they've been amazing".

The club hardly resembles the team of last year with a number of players moving on following the World Cup while they've also been hit with a long list of injuries.

"There's just not one issue, but (we're) very positive about what's coming up and the way forward," Penney said

The Waratahs celebrate a try against the Crusaders, 2024.

The Waratahs celebrate a try against the Crusaders, 2024. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Penney does believe some of his players need to stand up.

"We feel there are guys that aren't doing enough, we've been encouraging them all year to be brave and do more.

"This level of pressure on the group is not great because it hinders that growth and development, but it's going to bear fruit at some point."

Penney will welcome back captain Scott Barrett and back David Havili from injuries for the game against the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night.

Barrett, who broke his finger during training in early March, has defended his coach.

"It's easy for people outside of the environment to look in and throw stones, but when you (Penney) come into a new environment it takes time to install what you're trying to achieve.

"A lot of the responsibility falls on the players to perform as well and it's individual accountability."

Barrett says there is still belief that they can win the competition this year.

"It's certainly a big challenge ahead and it's a challenge we're excited by."