Irrespective of swirling speculation linking him to the vacant New South Wales coaching spot, New Zealand coach Michael Maguire has reaffirmed his complete commitment to the Kiwi World Cup squad for 2026. This statement comes after the stepping down of Brad Fittler from the NSWRL just weeks ago, sparking rumors of Maguire potentially stepping in.
Despite this distraction, Maguire, who extended his contract with the Kiwis earlier this year and also acts as part of the Canberra Raiders coaching panel, remains unchanged in his devotion. Although he is predicted to accept a part-time job with the Blues next year, after strategizing their 2014 premiership victory, Maguire insists that his focus remains unswervingly on New Zealand’s championship ambitions.
Assurances come from the coach himself that his plan is to stand beside his players and strive for World Cup triumph. With a clear intention of building a enduring victorious camaraderie within the team, Maguire communicates his commitment and dedication in no uncertain terms.
With a series of three important Test matches lined up, the committed coach has a clear vision for his team and insists nothing could divert his attention from the task at hand. As anticipation builds for the weekend’s game against Samoa at Eden Park, Maguire speaks enthusiastically of a vibrant crowd adding to the excitement of the day.
In preparation for the upcoming match, Maguire has put together a formidable team. Golden Boot winner Joseph Manu will reclaim his position as centre, following his impressive performance as the fullback in the previous year’s World Cup. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Dylan Brown and Jahrome Hughes are set to bring their respective individual strengths to the field.
Following the successful strategy employed by the Kangaroos against Samoa, New Zealand’s forwards, led by the duo from Panthers, Moses Leota and James Fisher-Harris, will aim to replicate the aggression that secured them three consecutive titles. Fisher-Harris’s impressive leadership style paves the way for his role as captain of the Kiwis, a decision that Maguire describes as an easy one due to the admiration and respect he commands from his team.