21 Feb 2024

'Little general' promoted to top job with Kiwis

4:25 pm on 21 February 2024
Stacey Jones

Stacey Jones Photo: Photosport

Known as the 'little general' in his playing days for his ability to control game, Kiwis rugby league legend Stacey Jones has been named as the new coach of the national rugby league side.

He replaces Michael Maguire who stood down from the position in December after six years in the role.

Jones was an assistant at the Kiwis in 2023.

He was also Warriors interim head coach for part of 2022 after the departure of Nathan Brown.

The 47-year-old is considered a legend of the Kiwis and Warriors.

He played his first game for the national side in 1995, the same year that he debuted for the Warriors in their inaugural season in the NRL.

In all Jones played 48 times for New Zealand, scoring 17 tries.

Jones remains an assistant coach with the Warriors.

He headed off Australian coaching great Wayne Bennett for the job.

"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," Jones said.

"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."

NZRL chief executive Greg Peters said Jones had served a lengthy apprenticeship with the Warriors and with the Kiwis. as assistant coach.

"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."

Jones' debut as national coach however is some off with the Kiwis not scheduled to play again until October in the Pacific Championship.