The New Zealand Rugby League have confirmed Stacey Jones will take over head-coaching duties of the Kiwis moving forward.

Michael Maguire stepped down from the role late in 2023 after accepting the New South Wales Blues job, where he is set to take over from Brad Fittler in the 2024 State of Origin series.

Maguire's departure left the NZRL looking for a new coach who would be able to follow up the previous success, with New Zealand defeating Australia by a record margin in the final of the 2023 Pacific Cup.

It had been rumoured Wayne Bennett would be the man to take over as head coach of the Kiwis following the end of his time with the Dolphins at the conclusion of the 2023 NRL season, but the NZRL have instead handed the job to former Kiwis and New Zealand Warriors star Stacey Jones.

The 47-year-old has held assistant coaching roles over the last eight years with both the Warriors and Kiwis, and NZRL CEO Greg Peters said he was "delighted" to welcome Jones into the job.

“We're delighted to be appointing an absolute legend of the game to coach the Kiwis,” Peters said in a statement.

“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.”

Jones said it would be an honour to coach the Kiwis.

“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.”