The New Zealand Rugby League has confirmed Michael Maguire's appointment as the new Kiwis head coach.

It's understood Maguire has signed a four-year deal with the NZRL having made a long-term commitment to get the Kiwis back on track following last year's abysmal World Cup campaign under former coach David Kidwell.

The 44-year-old former South Sydney coach beat out challenges from fellow former NRL coaches Des Hasler and Geoff Toovey and former NSW State of Origin coach Laurie Daley to win the job.

The application process was overseen by the NZRL's coaching appointment panel, headed by former Kiwis captain Dean Bell, with the NZRL board finalising Maguire's appointment this week.


In a press release from the NZRL, Maguire said he was excited at the prospect of helping to foster a winning culture within the Kiwis camp.

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

"My full focus now is on the Kiwis and what we can do to build processes that manifest success which is centred around the respect for the black and white jersey.

"I'm really excited to join (NZRL chairman) Reon (Edwards) and the team to help build a winning culture that brings New Zealand back to the top of the rugby league world.

"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.

"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."

A four-year contract would see Maguire in charge of the New Zealand test side through to the end of the 2021 World Cup in England.

His first assignment looms in six weeks however, with the Kiwis scheduled to play England in a historic test in Denver on June 23.

Later this year the Kiwis will also play a home test against Australia in Auckland on October 13, before travelling to play a three-test series against England in Hull, Liverpool and Leeds, and a one-off test against France.

Bell, together with fellow panel members, former Kiwis coach Frank Endacott, ex-Warriors skipper Monty Betham, and former Silver Ferns netball coach Waimarama Taumaunu, feel confident Maguire is the best man for the job.

"It was great to see Michael Maguire put his hand up for the role. The high calibre of applicants we had shows that top coaches can see the Kiwis' potential and the prestige that comes with international rugby league," said Bell.

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

In the coming weeks, Maguire will work with the Player Selection Panel which includes Tawera Nikau, Hugh McGahan and Mark Horo, to work through selection criteria for the Denver test.