You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
New Zealand coach Michael Maguire.

New Zealand coach Michael Maguire wants the World Cup postponed to 2022 but won't stand in the way of Kiwi players participating for other nations if the tournament goes ahead.

The NZRL and ARLC released a joint statement on Thursday night AEDT confirming their men's and women's teams won't feature in this year's tournament due to welfare and safety concerns amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Maguire said Kiwis players were consulted before the decision and believed NRL players representing other countries would make their own choices based on expert advice.

"It's obviously disappointing because I've got a special group with the Kiwi boys and it's always nice to get together," Maguire said on Friday.

"But I think the safety of what's going on around us is larger than rugby league. People have taken that into consideration, the safety of the players and what may or may not happen.

Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers - Round 19

"The game itself and people above myself have made decisions around the safety of people and players around what may or may not happen.

"We want to be able to challenge and win a World Cup but at the end of the day a decision has been made."

Maguire held no fears of losing Kiwis players to other nations long-term like Jason Taumalolo's contentious switch to Tonga in 2017 if the World Cup continued without Australia and New Zealand.

‘Unpredictable’ Wests Tigers a thorn in Manly’s side

From a Wests Tigers perspective, Maguire said he would be advising his own club players to consider the reasons behind the tier-one nations' withdrawals.

"I think all the players will consult with the experts to decide if it's the right thing to do but as far as I understand you've got two big strong countries making the right decision for the players," he said.

"I'd advise them to have a look at the reasons why Australia and New Zealand made the decisions not to go ahead, purely because of player safety. Players need to be aware of those things.

"We're going through a lockdown now. It's bigger than the game, what we're going through right around the world. These lockdowns are happening for a reason."

Maguire added he wanted to see Test football played in Australia at the end of the year regardless of the tournament's immediate future.

"The international game is a very important piece for rugby league, we all know that," he said.

Have a look at the reasons why Australia and New Zealand made the decisions not to go ahead

Michael Maguire's advice to player considering the World Cup

"Having everyone available to play in the World Cup is important. I hope it's postponed and we get to play that in 12 months' time or at the right time.

"To be able to have a World Cup and have the best players playing in it, that's what a World Cup is all about."

Meanwhile, Maguire said he had spoken to Wests Tigers outside back James Roberts, who is in hotel quarantine on the Gold Coast, but wasn't sure on his availability to play when he is released.

Roberts remained in Sydney before round 18 when the squad relocated to Queensland but flew to the Sunshine State earlier this week as part of the NRL families' entourage.

"He's in good spirits, obviously being isolated in a room is a little different, the parameters with what he can and can't do does change within days," Maguire said.

"We'll definitely have to assess [his physical fitness] when he lands on the ground with us.

"You've got to make sure you understand the player. When you go from 0-100 you need to make sure the body is ready to go.

Nofoaluma touched by response to try scoring record

"I know Jimmy is doing a lot of training in his room with what he can do."

The Wests Tigers remain in the finals race after last week's 42-24 win over the Broncos but face a more difficult challenge against a Sea Eagles outfit featuring a fresh Tom Trbojevic on Saturday.

"I thought we found our game in the second half against the Broncos," Maguire said.

"We worked our way through the first half but in the second half we found the style we know we can play. We need to finish off sets, build pressure and work hard for each other."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners