Rob Penney: Irish tour a boost to RWC19

Former Munster coach Rob Penney said Ireland’s two-match tour of Japan has been hugely beneficial for local administrators preparing to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
Rob Penney: Irish tour a boost to RWC19

Penney, now in his third year coaching NTT Com in the Japanese league, believes the 2019 global showpiece will be a huge success.

But it’s obvious that there will be difficulties as the tournament is staged outside the tier one countries for a first time, and Penney feels that visits from teams like Ireland can help the Japanese adapt to the needs of competitiors.

“This country is ‘uniquely unique’ — that’s probably the best way to put. It is like nothing you would encounter in any European or Western environment. They are very proud, and very particular, of their culture which keeps it as unique as it is.

“For a westerner, there can be frustrations but once you understand the uniqueness of the Japanese people and live with them, it is a magic place and I think Ireland being here now have seen a glimpse of it. The people are great workers and the support for the tournament is there.”

Penney, who guided Munster to two European semi-finals in his two seasons with the province from 2012-14 and who made Peter O’Mahony the Reds’ captain at 23, said that visits by tier one countries to Japan is mutually beneficial.

“The more interaction the Japanese administration can have with western teams, and the needs of the western teams, the better they are going to be at servicing their needs when the World Cup comes to the country.”

Ireland trained at Penney’s NTT Com club in Tokyo this week and will wrap up their summer tour against Japan at the Ajinomoto Stadium this morning (6.40am, eir sport) when they will hope to extend their winning run over the Brave Blossoms to seven games.

Penney enjoyed meeting up with the Irish, especially the Munster contingent, and he hopes many of them will be back in 2019.

The former Canterbury coach said that the Japanese were working hard to host a great World Cup but pointed out that they will need co-operation from others.

“They are going to need some help and hopefully the teams that do come will be a bit patient because it is a bit different but they work hard and they try hard here to please everybody. It will be a great World Cup and everyone who comes here will have a great experience.”

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