Anthony Foley has been appointed as Munster’s next head coach and will begin his two-year contract on July 1.
Foley, who is currently forwards coach at the province, will replace Rob Penney, who is stepping down at the end of the season. No backroom team is in place yet.
“Anthony epitomises everything there is about Munster rugby,” said the province’s CEO Garett Fitzgerald, who added that Foley was the only candidate they interviewed despite having 22 applications, from inside and outside the country.
“They didn’t have to ask me twice,” added Foley. “Thomond Park was my playground growing up.”
Foley is steeped in Munster history having captained the province to their first Heineken Cup success in 2006 and also watched his father Brendan wear the red jersey on many occasions.
Brendan was part of the Munster team that beat the All Blacks in 1978.
“He was very happy, delighted,” said Foley of his father’s reaction.
“He has been through the system too. Came through junior rugby, Shannon, Munster and Ireland and he was a one-club man too. He’s a quiet man and it’s hard to get stuff out of him but he did shake my hand and say well done.
“I think there’s a lot of people happy in Shannon, in Ballina-Killaloe, in St Munchin’s,” added Foley.
Foley will continue to work alongside Rob Penney for the remainder of this season as they chase success in the Rabo Direct PRO 12 and in the Heineken Cup.