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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 08:22 GMT
New Zealand put faith in Kearney
Stephen Kearney
Kearney played 45 Tests for New Zealand between 1992 and 2004
New Zealand have named former captain Stephen Kearney as their new coach - and handed a temporary advisory role to Australian legend Wayne Bennett.

Kearney, who played 45 Tests for his country, has signed a two-year deal.

The former Hull FC second rower, 35, takes over from Gary Kemble, whose reign lasted just five months.

Bennett, 58, was linked with the job, but he said: "I'm keen to help New Zealand rugby league but I believe it's vital the coach is a New Zealander."

Instead, he will help Kearney prepare the Kiwis for the Test against Australia in Sydney on 9 May and could also be involved for the World Cup.

It's a huge thrill to now be appointed Kiwi coach

Stephen Kearney

"I couldn't think of a finer man for the job than Stephen and I'm really looking forward to helping him in any way I can," said the Brisbane Broncos coach, who will leave his post at the end of the 2008 NRL season.

"It's important that he's in the job long-term because you need that continuity when you're rebuilding a side."

"We're absolutely delighted to announce Stephen and Wayne are joining forces with the Kiwis," said NZRL Chairman Ray Haffenden.

"It's a tremendous boost to have someone of Stephen's mana to coach the Kiwis while Wayne's experience as the outstanding coach of his generation will be a huge benefit for Stephen, the players and the entire organisation."

Despite his lack of coaching experience, Kearney said he would be calling the shots, not Bennett.

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"We've made things pretty clear right from the start," he said.

"He has been wonderful like that and he said the coaching will be left up to me, obviously with his guidance and expertise.

"I was honoured to play for the Kiwis over a long period of time and it's a huge thrill to now be appointed Kiwi coach."

Kearney played 45 Tests for New Zealand between 1992 and 2004 and made 264 appearances in Australia's NRL, mostly for the Auckland Warriors and Melbourne Storm.



SEE ALSO
St Helens play down Bennett talk
05 Feb 08 |  St Helens
Legend Bennett to leave Brisbane
05 Feb 08 |  Rugby League
NZ coach quits after team revolt
19 Jan 08 |  Rugby League
NZ skipper rebuked over outburst
15 Jan 08 |  Rugby League


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