Paul O'Connell has described how disappointed he is with the news that Rob Penney is to leave Munster at the end of the season.
Penney reached the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup last year where they were beaten at Clermont, and this year has secured a home quarter final in Europe and currently sit top of the Pro 12 table.
He joined Munster in 2012 taking over from Tony McGahan, on a two-year contract with the option of a third, which he now seems unhappy with.
There are unconfirmed reports that he has been offered a three-year contract in Japan.
Irish captain O'Connell shrugged off a chest infection to take his place in the starting 15 to play Wales this weekend in the Six Nations.
He said he's shocked that Penney will be leaving.
"It is a shock, I heard rumors but didn't know a lot about it, it's disappointing but he has to do what's best for him and his family."
"Hopefully now Munster can put something in place that will continue the improvements that have happened under Rob in the last two years."
"I presume Axel (Anthony Foley) will be putting his hand up there, he's been waiting a long time for the opportunity."
"It's hard to know who will come in given we qualified with a home quarter final and a lot of good players coming through there will be a lot of interest in the job which will hopefully be good for Munster, " O'Connell said.