Despite fervent speculations linking him with the New South Wales Blues coaching position, New Zealand’s coach Michael Maguire asserts that his allegiance lies firmly with the Kiwis, especially with the imminent face-off against Samoa in the Pacific Championship on Saturday.
Maguire’s commitment to New Zealand has been under scrutiny recently after New South Wales parted ways with Brad Fittler, sparking rumors that Maguire might fill the void and attempt to help them wrestle the State of Origin crown back from Queensland.
“I can assure you now that is my plan…I want nothing more than to be able to stand with my players and achieve (World Cup) success. I am 100 percent committed with the boys, we’ve done a lot of work to get to this point and I don’t plan on anything getting in the way of what we’re focused on,” Maguire said.
Earlier this year, Maguire renewed his contract with New Zealand. Concurrently, he’s also integrated into the Canberra Raiders’ coaching realm as a senior consultant. While no official confirmation has been released regarding his association with the Blues in 2024, Maguire remains resolute in his devotion to New Zealand’s success in the upcoming Pacific Championships.
His dedication remains unflinching, even with the lure of potentially juggling three roles, including a speculated part-time role with the Blues, following his 2014 premiership victory when coaching South Sydney.
Expressing his anticipation for the game against Samoa at Eden Park, in which the Kiwis are a $1.13 favourite to win with online bookmakers, Maguire said he was confident the work his team had put in would hold them in good stead.
,“We’ve got three big Test matches ahead… I’m expecting a really big crowd. So I’m looking forward to all the work we’ve been doing in the background for a long period of time coming out,” he said.
Maguire has selected a formidable lineup for Saturday’s Test. Golden Boot awardee, Joseph Manu, will reprise his role as centre after a laudable performance as a fullback in the previous World Cup. Meanwhile, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Dylan Brown, and Jahrome Hughes will be other notable presences on the field.
The Kiwis are strategically poised to confront Samoa, mirroring the strategy employed by the Kangaroos last week. Panthers’ dynamic duo, Moses Leota and James Fisher-Harris, are set to channel the same vigor that propelled Penrith to their third consecutive title. Fisher-Harris, in particular, has been earmarked to lead the Kiwis after being named skipper.
“There is no reason why he won’t be doing it for a long time. He has got great respect from the players… it was a pretty easy choice,” Maguire said.
Samoa is regarded as a $6 shot to defeat the Kiwis in the Pacific Championship, with these odds available at Neds Australia.