Waratahs coach Penney sacked after dismal run

SYDNEY (AFP) – The NSW Waratahs have sacked coach Rob Penney after a nightmare five-loss start to the season left them rooted to the bottom on the Super Rugby AU table.

Penney had been under pressure for weeks but the axe finally fell late Sunday in the wake of the Waratahs’ 46-14 thrashing by traditional rivals the Queensland Reds.

Waratahs chief executive Paul Doorn acknowledged Penney was coaching an inexperienced side “in trying circumstances”.

“However, the on-field performances this season have not met expectations and we feel that, in the best interests of the Waratahs, now is the time to make a change,” he said in a statement after the seven-to-one try mauling.

The Waratahs have lost more than 1,500 Super Rugby caps of experience over the past two seasons, headlined by Michael Hooper’s sabbatical in Japan and the departure of Wallaby Rob Simmons to London Irish.

New Zealander Penney, former head coach of Irish club Munster, joined the Waratahs on a three-year deal last season.