Maguire set to be announced as Kiwis coach
Former South Sydney premiership-winning coach Michael Maguire is set to take charge of New Zealand for next month's Denver Test and the Kiwis' end-of-season tour to England and France.
Maguire, who guided the Rabbitohs to their first grand final win for 43 years in 2014, will be confirmed as the new Kiwis coach at a press conference in Auckland on Thursday.
He replaces David Kidwell, who decided not to seek re-appointment in the wake of New Zealand's shock quarter-final elimination from last year's World Cup and has since taken on an assistant coach role 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 NZRL selection panel of former Kiwis coach Frank Endacott, ex-players Dean Bell and Monty Betham, and former New Zealand netball coach Waimarama Taumaunu were understood to have been impressed by Maguire.
His first task will be to prepare the team for the June 23 Test at Denver's Mile High Stadium against Wayne Bennett's England side, which is likely to include Rabbitohs forwards Sam, George and Tom Burgess.
The appointment of Maguire will help alleviate some of the concerns of NRL clubs about the Test, which will be played during the stand-alone representative weekend, as he is renowned as a coach who places a strong emphasis on high performance and recovery processes for players.
Maguire is expected to be without the services of North Queensland star forward Jason Taumalolo and a number of other players who pledged their allegiances to Tonga during the World Cup.
However, former Kiwis captain Jesse Bromwich and forward Kevin Proctor are available after being banned from selection during the World Cup following their well-publicised cocaine bust in Canberra following last year's Anzac Test, and Maguire knows the pair from his time as an assistant coach in Melbourne.
The 44-year-old also has a close working relationship with Warriors hooker Issac Luke, whom he coached at Souths. Luke has this season regained his best form after being overlooked for last year's World Cup campaign.
The Kiwis also have a three-Test series against England at the end of the season and are scheduled to play in Hull, Liverpool and Leeds.
Since parting ways with the Rabbitohs at the end of last season, Maguire has been working with NRL match officials.
He has also previously coached Wigan and took the famous English club to a Super League premiership in 2010 and victory in the 2011 Challenge Cup before joining Souths in 2012.
Despite overseeing the Rabbitohs 21st premiership win in 2014, Maguire was sacked at the end of last season after the club failed to make the Telstra Premiership finals for the second successive year.