Taranaki prop Tony Penn spent five straight years in the Hurricanes between 2001-2005, becoming one of the real grafters in the engine room. Penn was first called into the Hurricanes team as a replacement for English prop Kevin Yates for the last game of the Hurricanes season in 2001 against the Blues. From there he went on to play another 27 times, including a call-up to the bench for one game in 2007 against the Chiefs.
A specialist loosehead prop and strong scrummager, Penn was a consistent force in the Taranaki pack over several seasons, captaining the side in 2007 and bringing up100 caps for Taranaki in 2009 following his provincial debut against Wanganui in 1999.
He was selected for New Zealand Maori in 2002 as a tourist to Australia, and also played for the Maori in 2003. Other representative teams included selection in New Zealand U19 in 1997 and in New Zealand U21 in 1999. Penn is also a former New Zealand U19 softball representative. Penn’s propping partner in his school first XV was Chiefs prop and future New Zealand Maori team mate Deacon Manu.
Penn was captain of Taranaki in the 2008 Air New Zealand Cup, reaching the milestone of 100 games for Taranaki. He then spent the 2008/09 European season playing for Venezia Mestre in Italian Super 10 competition, before returning to New Zealand in May 2009 for another season with the amber and blacks. He retired from representative rugby ahead of the ITM Cup in 2010 to concentrate on his building trades business, but downed tools for the microphone as a SKY TV comments man.
He remained as committed as ever on the club rugby field, captaining his club team Tukapa to back-to-back McMasters Shield Taranaki club rugby titles in July 2011.