England are set to go up against former Wigan coach Michael Maguire in next month’s Denver international and the end-of-season Test series against New Zealand.
Maguire, who guided the Warriors to Super League Grand Final glory in 2010 and victory in the 2011 Challenge Cup, is poised to become the first Australian to coach the Kiwis since Daniel Anderson, who quit the role in 2005 to take over at St Helens.
A press conference will be held in Auckland on Thursday.
Maguire, 44, is expected take over from New Zealander David Kidwell, who decided not to seek re-appointment in the wake of the Kiwis’ dismal 2017 World Cup campaign and has since been named as an assistant coach at Parramatta.
Former NRL coaches Des Hasler and Geoff Toovey were also interviewed for the Kiwis job, along with ex-NSW State of Origin mentor Laurie Daley.
The rules were changed to pave the way for an overseas appointment following a disastrous World Cup, and Maguire is thought to have got the recommendation of a selection panel which included former Wigan captain Dean Bell and ex-Wigan, Widnes and New Zealand coach Frank Endacott.
Maguire left Wigan to join South Sydney in 2012 and took them to the premiership in 2014, but was sacked at the end of 2017 after the club failed to make the finals for the second successive year and has recently been working with NRL match officials.
His first task will be to prepare New Zealand for the June 23 Test at Denver’s Mile High Stadium against Wayne Bennett’s England side, which is likely to include Wigan trio Sean O’Loughlin, George Williams and John Bateman as well as Rabbitohs forwards Sam, George and Tom Burgess.
The Kiwis also have a three-Test series against England at the end of the season and will round off their tour with a match against France on November 17.