Michael Maguire tasked with rebuilding Kiwis following horror 2017

Jose Verdugo
May 10, 2018

Maguire led Wigan to a Grand Final triumph in 2010 and a Challenge Cup win the following year before leaving to coach South Sydney Rabbitohs.

General Manager of Pirtek New Zealand, Chris Bourke was pleased to build on their decade long partnership with New Zealand Rugby League and said he "couldn't wait to see what Michael Maguire has in store for the Kiwis".

Maguire, who guided South Sydney to the premiership in 2014, got the recommendation of a selection panel which included former Wigan captain Dean Bell and ex-Wigan, Widnes and New Zealand coach Frank Endacott.

Bell is confident that Maguire is the right man for the job. "The high calibre of applicants we had shows that top coaches can see the Kiwis' potential and the prestige that comes with global rugby league", Bell said.

Maguire, 44, has signed a four-year contract, the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) announced on Thursday.

"[Last year] may not have gone in favour of the Kiwis but the beauty of that, is the opportunity to reflect and reset", said Maguire, who left the Rabbitohs at the end of last season.

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New Zealand had its worst-ever World Cup performance at last year's tournament, which it co-hosted with Australia, losing to Tonga in group play and to Fiji in the quarterfinals.

"The panel were very impressed with the thought and detail that went into his presentation", Bell said. That's the task facing us all at the refreshed NZRL. "Ultimately I want players that have full respect for the jersey".

"His obvious football knowledge was complemented by his passion for the game and the fact that he had quickly created premiership winning sides in both hemispheres also impressed the panel".

Today's announcement in Auckland was signalled earlier in the week, and followed an independent review into the World Cup campaign and New Zealand Rugby League's high performance programme.

A review following the World Cup exit focused on ensuring more transparency around various appointments, and recommended the Kiwis head coach eligibility criteria be updated to include overseas applicants.

"NZRL is in a great position now compared to where it was a few months ago so it's important that we maintain this forward momentum and continue to make improvements", he said.

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