Ex-Wigan Warriors coach Michael Maguire wants to 'build something special for New Zealand'

Michael Maguire
Michael Maguire

Former Wigan Warriors boss MIchael Maguire has said he wants to ‘bring something special’ to New Zealand after being named Kiwis coach.

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.

And after beating former NRL coaches Des Hasler and Geoff Toovey and ex-NSW Origin coach Laurie Daley to the New Zealand job, Maguire is preparing for his first test - against England in Denver on June 23.

"This was a great opportunity and I'm excited about getting to work," Maguire told NRL.com.

"I want to build something special for the New Zealand people and I plan on being here full-time. I want to grow the game from the grassroots right the way through."

The 44-year-old also revealed he will leave the door open for players who have previously represented the Kiwis.

"There will always be a place for players who have worn the jersey before," he said, revealing Jason Taumalolo and the rest of the Tongan contingent who opted to switch their allegiances for last year’s World Cup may be able to return under the right circumstances.

"Obviously Jase has played a lot here (in New Zealand) and he's a quality player. Ultimately I want players that have full respect for the jersey."

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.

"The panel were very impressed with the thought and detail that went into his presentation," said Bell.

"He demonstrated thorough plans on how he would prepare for the Test matches this year and what needed to be done in preparation for the World Cup in 2021.

"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.

"He also displayed a sincere belief that he can consistently get our Kiwi players playing to their potential through his high performance coaching knowledge and instilling a genuine pride in pulling on the black jersey."

Maguire left Wigan to join the Rabbitohs in 2012 and took them to the title within two years 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.

"New Zealand already supplies a lot of the top talent in the National Rugby League and English Super League and they've got the biggest nursery as well as the most vocal, passionate and knowledgeable fans," Maguire said.

"Pride in that jersey isn't just for players, it's for the whole of New Zealand. That's the task facing us all at the refreshed NZRL.

"I'm really excited to join the team to help build a winning culture that brings New Zealand back to the top of the rugby league world.

"2017 may not have gone in favour of the Kiwis but the beauty of that, is the opportunity to reflect and reset."

Maguire will return to England with his New Zealand side for a three Test series this autumn.