Munster centre Casey Laulala is backing Rob Penney to help build a new legacy at Thomond Park.
Laulala will link back up with Penney, who he worked with at New Zealand side Canterbury, after making the switch from RaboDirect PRO12 rivals Cardiff Blues.
By their high standards, Munster suffered a relatively unsuccessful season after being thrashed 45-10 in their RaboDirect PRO12 play-off semi-final and being knocked out of the Heineken Cup at the quarter-final stage.
Tony McGahan has since departed to join Australia’s coaching set-up but Laulala believes there’s no-one better suited to get Munster back to winning ways than Penney.
“I was with Rob for such a long time, he was one of the main reasons why I went down to Canterbury because I was with Auckland and he was coaching me with the New Zealand Under-19s. I was there then with him from 2003 to 2009,” said Laulala.
“His positivity is great and from being with him in Canterbury we had so much success, we always did well. I’m excited for the boys here. That they’ll be able to have that positive vibe going through the team, Rob will add so much value to the club.
“I want to be part of the pure legacy at Munster. I also wanted a new start and this is something different for me.
“When you’re in the southern hemisphere you’re stuck in a small bubble, but Munster seem to have a real strong name down there. I played in red down there also so I think it’s just something about the red jersey.”
The Kiwi pair are not the only new arrivals in Limerick with hulking centre James Downey arriving from Northampton and South African CJ Stander bulking up the back-row.
Laulala is arguably the most exciting for Munster fans having sprinkled stardust on the Blues’ backline for the past three seasons.
And while his last two pre-seasons have been interrupted by injury, Laulala maintains he’s never been in better shape and is eager to nail down the No.13 shirt.
“The body feels good after a good pre-season. The last two years I haven’t had a good pre-season due to injuries so touch wood there will be no injuries this year.
“It comes down to personal pride. 13 is my number, I’ve played part-time on the wing and at 12 but outside centre is my primary position. I just want to do well for myself and hopefully in that way I can contribute to the team and solidify that position and move forward from there.”