Kidwell appointed New Zealand coach


David Kidwell has been named head coach of New Zealand until the end of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Kidwell, previously the assistant for three years, replaces Stephen Kearney - who has taken charge of the New Zealand Warriors.

A veteran of 24 Tests as a player, 39-year-old Kidwell begins his stint with a Test against Australia and the Four Nations in England.

"I feel humbled and privileged to be named head coach of the Kiwis," he said.

"As assistant, I've watched Stephen building a strong culture within the programme and I want to make sure that is upheld and becomes even stronger. That's the message I'll be giving to our senior players.

"I'll add my own individual style to the Kiwis, but as far as culture and values and belief in ourselves, I'm determined to uphold these foundations of our house, as we say. That passion for the black-and-white jersey is paramount."

New Zealand Rugby League chief executive Alex Hayton said it was an obvious step for Kidwell, who has also been an assistant with the Wests Tigers.

He said: "David has been part of a succession plan for when the head coach role became vacant.

"He has contributed to the development of the Kiwis team culture, brings continuity and certainty to the playing group over the next 14 months, leading into the Rugby League World Cup.

"David will be contracted full-time through to January 2018. This will allow David to focus 100 per cent on the role, but also assist in pushing the Kiwis brand among young players of NZ heritage living in Australia and attend various events in New Zealand to promote the game."