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Maguire steps down as Kiwis coach amidst Blues Origin speculation

The New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) have confirmed that Michael Maguire will be stepping down from his role as head coach of the New Zealand Kiwis, effective immediately.

The move comes amidst speculation that Maguire, who won a premiership with South Sydney in 2014 and also previously coached Wests Tigers, is in the running to fill the vacant Blues Origin head coaching position for 2024. 

“It is common knowledge that the NSWRL Board has been working through a process with Michael Maguire," a spokesperson for the NSWRL said.

"As soon as the matter is finalised we will make a public announcement but until then, we will not be making further comment.”

During his six years in the Kiwis role, Maguire won 12 of his 18 Test matches, including a record 30-0 victory over Australia earlier this month in the Pacific Championships final. 

In a statement released on Friday, NZRL chief executive Greg Peters paid tribute to Maguire. 

“The mana, history and whakapapa associated with the black and white jersey mean any role in and around the Kiwi team is the ultimate privilege. Michael’s dedication to the role and players has seen him achieve incredible things over the last six years,” Peters said. 

“Michael is the ultimate professional and has connected deeply with the NZRL whānau and playing group. We wish him nothing but success in his next career step.”

Maguire inherited the New Zealand role during a time of turmoil for the national team, just months after they were sensationally knocked out of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup quarter-finals by Fiji, having earlier become the first Tier 1 nation ever to lose to a Tier 2 outfit when they fell to Mate Ma'a Tonga. 

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