Kiwis to appoint new coach after Kidwell decides not to re-apply
New Zealand will have a new coach for their mid-year Test against Wayne Bennett's England in Denver after David Kidwell decided against seeking re-appointment to the Kiwis job.
Kidwell was in charge of the Kiwis at last year's World Cup and while the NZRL announced after his contract expired in February that the post would be open to non-New Zealand coaches, he was invited to re-apply.
However, the 40-year-old confirmed to NRL.com that he would not be submitting his CV when applications close on Wednesday and had accepted responsibility for the failed World Cup campaign, in which the Kiwis were bundled out at the quarter-final stage after successive losses to Tonga and Fiji.
A review conducted by former Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle, who is now Rugby Australia chief executive, and New Zealand lawyer Tim Castle found that Kidwell was too inexperienced to be give the job after Stephen Kearney resigned to coach the Warriors on the eve of the 2016 Four Nations.
The review also found that Kidwell tried to implement too much change too quickly but was also critical of NZRL management for not providing him with a high-level plan leading up to and during the World Cup.
Kidwell also had to contend with the drugs scandal after last year's ANZAC Test in Canberra, which led to Kiwis captain Jesse Bromwich and experienced forward Kevin Proctor being banned from playing for New Zealand in the World Cup.
The Kiwis were further weakened by the defection of Jason Taumalolo, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Manu Ma’u and David Fusitu'a to Tonga.
Taumalolo has again pledged his loyalty to Tonga for the June 23 Pacific Test against Samoa at Campbelltown, along with Andrew Fifita, who said last weekend that Taukeiaho, Ma'u and Michael Jennings were also sticking with the Mate Ma'a.
The Kiwis are scheduled to play England at Denver's Mile High Stadium on the stand alone representative weekend but NRL clubs are reluctant to release their players for the Test.