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Foley to take Munster reins

Anthony Foley will replace Japan-bound Rob Penney as head coach at Munster next season.

Current forwards coach Foley has signed a two-year deal to succeed New Zealander Penney at Thomond Park, who will take up a coaching role in Japan in the summer.

Former Munster and Ireland loose-forward Foley retired in 2008 with 201 club appearances, immediately joining the Limerick province's backroom staff.

The 40-year-old has been forwards coach since 2011 and has coached the Ireland Wolfhounds and the Ireland senior side.

Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald admitted Foley was always the clear favourite for the role.

"Anthony was the stand-out candidate to succeed Rob Penney at the end of the season and I believe he will do an excellent job in leading this squad forward," said Fitzgerald.

"His experience and knowledge is of huge benefit to this young Munster side and I'm sure it will be an easy transition for both the players and backroom team to carry on the positive progress already made.

"I am glad that all parties could come to an agreement in such a prompt manner as we continue to focus our efforts on the remainder of the season.

"In the next few months Anthony will continue to play his part in the coaching team, supporting Rob."

Foley said his promotion represents a "huge honour and privilege".

"I am very fortunate to have played and achieved success with this club, my home club, at the top level," he said.

"Now I look forward to leading the next generation of Munster players to future success in the red jersey."

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