The New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce today, Kelvin Wright as the new Head Coach of the Kiwi Ferns ahead of the Queen’s Birthday weekend National Women’s Tournament taking place 2-4 June.

Since his coaching career began in 2011, Wright has fulfilled several coaching roles at New Zealand level including as Junior Kiwis Head Coach, Junior Warriors Head Coach, Warriors Assistant Coach and Kiwis Assistant Coach, roles which will prove beneficial when he begins his journey with the national women’s rugby league team.

Wright will lead the selection panel identifying the top 30 female players in New Zealand during this weekend’s National Women’s Tournament. These players will contribute to the make-up of the Kiwi Ferns wider squad to be announced on Monday 4 June at the conclusion of the final where the national women’s champion team will be crowned.

NZRL Coaching Manager, Gary Peacham said he was “excited to see a coach of Kelvin’s ability put his hand up for the top job and is confident he can successfully lead the Kiwi Ferns programme.”

While Kelvin boasts a wealth of rugby league experience, he was particularly excited to accept this new challenge  – to coach the three time World Champion Kiwi Ferns team. With the supreme level of talent available in New Zealand, Wright is welcoming of the new era women’s rugby league is about to enter into, and believes he can offer significant value to the team.

“I’ll bring fresh ideas and experience which I’ve gained through a number of different campaigns. On a technical level, I’ll be challenging the players to improve in all areas to take our game to the next level. We are very lucky to have a tremendous amount of Kiwi talent across New Zealand and Australia who will be competing for spots in the squad,” Wright said.

As a part of the trans-Tasman triple-header taking place in Auckland on October 13, the Kiwi Ferns will go head-to-head with the Jillaroos ahead of the Kiwis v Kangaroos clash, in their first match since the 2017 Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane.

For Kelvin, the road to the October match-up starts this weekend when six teams including last year’s champions, the Counties Manukau Stingrays, Akarana Falcons, Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions, Canterbury, Wellington Orcas and the Auckland Vulcans teams descend upon Cornwall Park.

“I’m sure we’ll see quality games played at a tremendous pace. I’ll be looking for speed, skill and players who compete on every play with a strong desire to win,” Wright said.

Following the tournament, Wright will support the NZRL in appointing the remainder of the Kiwi Ferns management team.