The New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) board has today announced that Kiwis’ Head Coach, Michael Maguire and Kiwi Ferns’ Head Coach, Ricky Henry, will remain in their positions through the 2025 World Cup.
NZRL recently concluded its 2022 Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) debrief, where both Maguire and Henry’s roles as Head Coaches have been extended, with the board confident they are the right people to lead New Zealand to victory come 2025.
In addition, NZRL has identified key areas where further support is needed to ensure success in the next campaign.
“Overall, there were many positives to take away from both campaigns,” says NZRL CEO Greg Peters.
“However, we recognise where NZRL has to provide further support to put us in the best position to be victorious in 2025.”
Improved depth, a culture change, and evident growth since 2017 were all positive talking points in the RLWC debrief.
“Since Michael came on board, NZRL and the Kiwi playing group have made significant strides since their last World Cup appearance,” says Peters.
“No doubt the semi-final heartbreak still stings, but the growth the squad has experienced under Michael gives the board confidence he is the coach to lead the Kiwis to victory in 2025.”
“The board has the same confidence in Ricky”, Peters adds.
“He has done great work with the Ferns. Despite one of our more inexperienced world cup squads, nearly defeating the Jillaroos in pool play and a convincing win over England in the semi-final are positive takeaways.
“Of course, we were all disappointed in the final result; however, with increased support from NZRL, the board is confident Ricky remains the right man for the job.”
Henry is grateful for the continued opportunity and is determined to nurture New Zealand’s pathways.
“It’s an exciting time to be involved in women’s rugby league and a privilege to lead the Kiwi Ferns through to 2025,” says Henry.
“The women’s game is evolving rapidly, and I’m determined to create the best pathways to nurture and develop New Zealand’s female talent. My focus will be getting us back to number 1 in the world and bringing that World Cup trophy back home to New Zealand.”
Maguire remains confident in the direction and progress of the Kiwi team, with his eyes set on victory in 2025.
“We have achieved enormous growth since 2017,” says Maguire.
“To be only inches away from the final still hurts; however, this playing group is more determined than ever to take home a World Cup for themselves, their families and their country.
“There is a strong culture among the boys, the passion for the Black and White jersey is undeniable, couple that with the exciting talent coming through, we’re in a positive place.”
“No doubt, there’s unfinished business,” adds Maguire.
“Thank you to the NZRL Board for continuing their faith in me as Head Coach. It’s a privilege to coach this Kiwi team, and I’m confident in what we can achieve over the next three years.”
NZRL CEO Greg Peters emphasises the need for regular international programmes.
“The lead-up to the 2022 campaign was heavily disrupted due to Covid, with New Zealand not playing Australia since 2019. The added delay of the 2021 tournament means there’s only a two-year window before the next RLWC.”
“Consistency and yearly international programmes have never been more important,” he adds.
“We need an annual end-of-year International competition with regular Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns Tests that become permanent fixtures in the rugby league calendar.
“We’re working closely with the NRL and IRL to flesh out what this looks like and will be in a position to announce the 2023 International programme soon.”