Stacey Jones pips Wayne Bennett to land Kiwis job

George Clarke |

Warriors assistant Stacey Jones has been appointed to lead New Zealand’s national team.
Warriors assistant Stacey Jones has been appointed to lead New Zealand’s national team.

Wayne Bennett has been overlooked for the vacant New Zealand job, with Stacey Jones named as the new Kiwis mentor on a three-year deal.

Jones replaces Michael Maguire, who was forced to give up the role when he was named NSW State of Origin coach late last year.

Bennett was considered a strong chance to secure the gig after throwing his hat in the ring for the vacancy.

The Dolphins coach was an assistant in the Kiwis set-up which won the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. 

But he was pipped to the post by 47-year-old Jones, who has signed a deal which runs until the end of the 2026 World Cup.

Jones, who captained the Kiwis during his 47-Test career and had worked alongside Maguire since 2018, will remain as an assistant coach with the Warriors.

“It was a special privilege to play for my country and to now have the chance to coach the Kiwis is both exciting and humbling,” Jones said.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the Kiwis over the last few years and seeing the team develop under Madge (Maguire). 

“I’ve learnt so much being involved with such a special group of players.

“I’m hugely grateful to the Warriors for the coaching opportunities they’ve given me to put me in this position, and for the way they supported me in my bid for this role with the Kiwis while continuing to work at the club.”

AAP