NRL 2023: Maguire not fussed by Origin coaching rumours ahead of Kiwis Test

New Zealand coach Michael Maguire says he’s “100 per cent going to the World Cup” in 2026 despite being heavily linked with the vacant New South Wales job after Brad Fittler and the NSWRL parted ways a few weeks ago.

Maguire signed a contract extension with the Kiwis earlier this year and is also a part of the Canberra Raiders coaching staff, but he could have a third job on his plate with the 2014 premiership-winning coach tipped to join the Blues next year, albeit on a part-time basis.

While he’s yet to be officially unveiled as the next NSW coach, Maguire is adamant that his focus is fully on New Zealand and helping them win the Pacific Championships when their tournament starts on Saturday against Samoa.

“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,” Maguire said.

“I want to be a part of the team and to be successful over long periods of time.

“That’s what I’m going to be continually talking about and that’s my goal at the moment.

“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.

“We’ve got three big Test matches ahead. Obviously, we’ve got Samoa (on Saturday), which is going to be a big game at Eden Park.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Maguire has named a strong side for Saturday’s Test with Golden Boot winner Joseph Manu returning to centre after he starred at fullback during last year’s World Cup.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad will start at fullback after a terrific season with the Warriors, while Dylan Brown and Jahrome Hughes will combine in an all-star halves pairing.

New Zealand’s forward pack will target Samoa just as the Kangaroos did in the first half last week, with Panthers duo Moses Leota and James Fisher-Harris keen to unleash the fury that saw them help Penrith to a third-straight title.

They’ll go up against a number of Panthers teammates, as well as Storm livewire Sua Fa’alogo, with Fisher-Harris set to captain the Kiwis.

“There is no reason why he won’t be doing it for a long time,” Maguire said.

“He has got great respect from the players, that’s one thing you see.

“The way he carries himself right throughout a season and then in and around the Kiwis, it was a pretty easy choice.”

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