Coventry Rugby is losing one of its most popular figures, this time permanently. Coach and former-player Tony Fenner will be bidding the club farewell next week, in order to relocate permanently to New Zealand.
Coventry Rugby have agreed to release Tony from his contract, in order to pursue a life opportunity that benefits his family. The club completely supports Tony and his family in this decision and wishes them the very best in their new adventure.
“You’ll struggle to meet a nicer person so he’ll be really missed. He has done really well in his new coaching role and he’s really added to the team and environment, but we fully understand and support Fen’s decision to head off to New Zealand, and ultimately family always comes first.” – Alex Rae.
Having joined the coaching team on a full-time basis this season as backs coach, Fenner had previously made over 100 appearances in the Blue and White, joining an esteemed club of Coventry Rugby centurions.
When people use the phrase: “done it all”, they may wish to consider alternative wording once they understand the epic tale of Tony Fenner and Rugby Union. A career that began in 2005 when Bedford Academy graduate turned First Team debutant at a mere 18 years old. After 4 years in Bedfordshire, Fenner headed Down Under to represent Otatuhu in the Auckland club competition in New Zealand.
It was there that Tony met his now wife and mother of their son, Luzaan. A phone call from the current Wales National Team Head Coach Wayne Pivac then persuaded Fenner to journey to South Africa, and help the EP Kings to a Currie Cup winning campaign in 2010.
A stint at Otago in the ITM Cup preceded representing Modena Rugby Italy in a European Season. The next move was journeying back to New Zealand to play for Auckland once again under Wayne Pivac as Head Coach. Tony Fenner was voted into the 2012 team of the season for non-New Zealand players in the ITM Cup.
The 2013/14 season saw Fenner make his European Cup debut when playing for Viadana with Head Coach Rowland Phillips, who the player maintains is one of his all-time favourite coaches to play under. Edinburgh was the next port of call for the fly half/centre, which brought a Heineken Cup debut, before he returned to Bedford Blues almost a decade after first making his senior debut at the club.
France was the penultimate land to conquer, as Fenner won the Golden Boot at Limoges before moving to Nevers in the ProD2 league. Finally, it was Coventry’s turn. Sadly, we will be the last club to be graced by the player’s on-field talent and off-field kindness and generosity.
“I can’t thank the club, Jon Sharp, the coaches, my former teammates and Coventry’s loyal supporters enough for everything they’ve done for me during my time here. I also want to say a big thank you to my wife and family for the continued support throughout my entire career!” – Tony Fenner.
Everyone at Coventry Rugby would like to thank Tony for giving his absolute all ever-since his first day in blue and white, both as a player and, more recently, as a coach. We wish him all the best for his adventures in New Zealand.
Thank you, Tony.