It seems like nothing more than a matter of a few hours or a couple of days until Michael Maguire is officially named as the new coach of the Kiwis.
He was sacked from his spot as the leader of the South Sydney Rabbitohs last year when the team won just nine of 24 games in the Telstra 2017 NRL Premiership competition.
Maguire seems to have edged out a serious contender, Laurie Daley, with the balance tipping in the direction of Maguire because of his extra experience as a coach in the NRL.
In the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude that seems to pervade the NRL of late, leading the Tohs to the premiership in 2014, following a premiership drought going all the way back to 1971, was not enough to gain Maguire any leeway from Rabbitohs owner Russell Crowe.
Maguire also fared well coaching the Poms, leading the Wigan Warriors to a 2010 premiership and the Challenge Cup in 2011.
New Zealand Rugby expressed interest in finding someone to head the club through the 2021 Rugby World Cup in England. Those three years are like 25 years in coach years.
During his interview process, Maguire did not hide the fact that he would like another coaching gig in the NRL, but he also expressed interest in the Kiwis when making an appearance on NRL360. “The international game has always appealed to myself to build, especially [a team] of New Zealand’s calibre, would be a great experience,” Maguire said.
To us, it sounds as though he desperately needed a situation of some sort, to the extent that he was willing to coach rugby.
Another former Rabbitohs coach (are we sensing a pattern here?), Des Hasler, was a leading candidate to take over the Kiwis from David Kidwell, but he ruled himself out, saying that he wanted to coach in the NRL again.
The NZRL is expected to make an announcement confirming Maguire next week and the first task on the radar for the Kiwis will be an international Test against England, played, in of all places, Denver Colorado in late June.