Rugby league great Stacey Jones has today been appointed as New Zealand Kiwis head coach to the end of the 2026 Rugby League World Cup.

The much-decorated 47-year-old Jones moves into the role after serving as an assistant coach with the Kiwis since 2018 while he is now in his eighth season as an assistant coach with One New Zealand Warriors in NRL.

“We’re delighted to be appointing an absolute legend of the game to coach the Kiwis,” said NZRL CEO Greg Peters.

“Stacey has served a lengthy apprenticeship with the Warriors and has also been with us as a long-term assistant coach with the Kiwis.

“It’s personally pleasing to see him rewarded with this appointment.

“Not only is he an outstanding individual with a deep knowledge and understanding of ‘The Kiwi Way’, he is a technically astute coach who understands what it takes to operate at the top international level.

“We are grateful to the Warriors for supporting his appointment and allowing him the time to do it.

“We are also excited about the opportunity this appointment provides to bring the game closer together in New Zealand by strengthening the connection with the Warriors.”

Following his glittering playing career, Jones transitioned quickly into coaching with a number of roles with the Warriors.

“This is a huge honour for me,” said Jones.

“It was a special privilege to play for my country and to now have the chance to coach the Kiwis is both exciting and humbling.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the Kiwis over the last few years and seeing the team develop under Madge (Michael Maguire). I’ve learnt so much being involved with such a special group of players.

“I’m hugely grateful to the Warriors for the coaching opportunities they’ve given me to put me in this position and for the way they supported me in my bid for this role wth the Kiwis while continuing to work at the club.”

During his playing career Jones played more than 350 games at the highest level.

He captained the Kiwis and played a total of 46 Tests while he amassed 261 NRL appearances for the Warriors and a further 45 games for Les Catalans Dragons in the Super League.

Awarded the ONZM for services to rugby league, he won the Golden Boot in 2002, was inducted into the NZRL Legends of League, included in the NZRL Team of the Century and has also been inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame and the NRL Hall of Fame.





Born: May 7, 1976

Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

Coaching Career:

New Zealand Kiwis assistant coach 2018-2023

One New Zealand Warriors NRL assistant coach 2017-2024

Māori All Stars head coach 2019

One New Zealand Warriors New South Wales Cup head coach 2015-2016

One New Zealand Warriors NYC head coach 2014

One New Zealand Warriors junior recruitment and pathways coach 2013

Auckland Rugby League football development officer 2012

Point Chevalier Pirates coach 2010-2011

One New Zealand Warriors NRL skills coach 2008

Playing Career:

International: 46 Tests for Kiwis 1995-2006

NRL: 261 appearances for One New Zealand Warriors 1995-2005 & 2009

Super League: 45 appearances for Les Catalans 2006-2007

A high-powered panel chaired by Kiwi great Dean Bell has been named to lead the appointment process for the next Kiwis coach.

Besides Bell, Frank Endacott, Monty Betham and Waimarama Taumaunu will interview candidates and make a recommendation to the NZRL board which will finalise the appointment.

Also on the panel will be a Recruitment Specialist who will be tasked with supporting the panel on all HR matters and ensuring the transparency of the recruitment process. The position is now officially open to all interested applicants, not just New Zealand-based coaches. Applications will close 6th April, 2018.

“A key recommendation of the post 2017 World Cup review was that there should be more transparency and rigor around various appointments NZRL chairman Reon Edwards says.

“This independent panel is a great step forward for what is going to be a busy year for the game.”

Panel convenor Dean Bell says there should be no excuses for the Kiwis not being competitive.

“With the depth of rugby league talent the Kiwis have at their disposal, we should be challenging the best international sides, including Australia, and achieving consistent success,” Dean says.

“I’ve already spoken with other members of the panel and as a group we’re determined to support the NZRL in moving on from the issues raised in the review of the last World Cup campaign,” he says. “We need to make sure that test football is given the status it deserves.”

He says the task for the panel is to ensure the appointment of a coach who can get the best out of the players.

The first challenge for the national side is a one-off test against England in Denver, Colorado on 23 June. This will be followed by a home test against Australia later in the year and a tour of England and France in October and November.

“The test has been scheduled in the internationally agreed window, so we’re now just working with the clubs in Australia to ensure we put the best possible team on the field,” Edwards says.

All enquiries regarding the coaching position should be direct to Hannah Speedy, email

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Panel biographies

Dean Bell ― Convenor
Dean played 26 tests for the Kiwis from 1983 to 1989. He was Football Manager for the Kiwis successful 2008 campaign in Australia. Dean has been named as one of NZRL’s Immortals and inducted as one of the NZRL’s Legends of League in 2000.

Frank Endacott
Frank coached the Kiwis in 35 games from 1995 to 2000, including in two World Cups, in 1995 and 2000. He previously coached the Canterbury provincial coach before joining the NZ Warriors. He also coached the Wigan Warriors and Widness in the UK.

Waimarama Taumaunu
Waimarama was a Silver Fern from 1981 to 1991, and was a member of the World Championship winning team of 1987. She was captain in the last three years of her international career. She worked as national performance director for All England Netball, before coaching the Capital Shakers and the Silver Ferns from 2011-2015.

Monty Betham
Monty played 101 games for the New Zealand Warriors between 1999 and 2005 and a season with the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in the English Super League. He represented Samoa at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup and played eight tests for the Kiwis between 2001-2006. He followed his time in league with a professional boxing career before moving to the media.