Rugby

Shining Arcs coach Rob Penney steps down after five seasons

Kyodo

NTT Communications Shining Arcs said Wednesday that Rob Penney will step down from his role as head coach after five seasons with the Japan Rugby Top League team.

The 54-year-old from New Zealand took the reins in 2014 and led the side to fifth place in his third season, the club’s best finish since making its top tier debut in 2010.

The team finished fifth in the 16-team standings again last season.

Penney is set to become the head coach of Toyota Industries Shuttles, who were demoted to the second tier Top Challenge League after finishing 15th in the Top League last season, a source told Kyodo News.

Toyota Industries announced last month that it had parted ways with head coach Leon Holden.

Assistant coaches Naoya Okubo and Toru Kurihara, both former Japan internationals, are also leaving the Shining Arcs, the Chiba Prefecture-based team said.

Okubo was announced in December as the forward coach for the Sunwolves, Japan’s Super Rugby franchise, while Kurihara is the new head coach at his alma mater Keio University.

The Shining Arcs also said that Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, who plays for the Sunwolves at No. 8 and flanker, will part ways with the team as well.

The 23-year-old has been included in the national side’s extended training squad for the Rugby World Cup that kicks off across Japan in September.