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Kearney retained as Kiwis coach

New Zealand rugby league coach Stephen Kearney has signed a two-year extension with the Kiwis.
Kearney retained as Kiwis coach
by AAP

WELLINGTON, Feb 21 AAP - New Zealand rugby league coach Stephen Kearney has signed a two-year extension with the Kiwis.

After five years at the helm, including two World Cup finals, the former national captain has been contracted until the end of the 2015, with a right of renewal through the next World Cup in 2017.

The job was made vacant following New Zealand's heavy loss to Australia in the 2013 World Cup final.

An NZRL panel decided Kearney was the strongest of four shortlisted candidates, who included former Kiwis David Kidwell and Richie Blackmore and Australian Glenn Morrison.

"We've invested heavily in Stephen's development at this level and, generally, we feel he's elevated the programme significantly since taking over," NZRL chief executive Phil Holden said.

In his first year as coach, Kearney guided the Kiwis to a triumph at the 2008 World Cup and followed that with victory at the 2010 Four Nations.

However, he has failed to coach a winning Kiwis team in the annual early-season Tests against Australia and oversaw the 34-2 loss in last November's World Cup final in Manchester.

Holden compared the reappointment to the All Blacks' retention of coach Graham Henry following their 2007 World Cup failure. Henry was retained and guided New Zealand to success on home soil four years later.


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