Ackland appointed to coach Junior Kiwis
Wednesday 19 September 2012 12:46 PM
Vodafone Junior Warriors coach John Ackland has been appointed to guide the Junior Kiwis in their one-off clash against the Junior Kangaroos at Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville on October 13.
The double NYC premiership-winning coach has been chosen by the New Zealand Rugby League to replace incumbent David Kidwell, who has withdrawn for personal reasons.
Vodafone Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah applauded Ackland’s appointment.
“John has a great coaching record and has done a fantastic job with our Vodafone Junior Warriors, taking them to the finals three years on end and winning the grand final twice.
“We’re thrilled for him to have this opportunity.”
Ackland has been a Junior Kiwis selector for the last two seasons alongside Kidwell, Mark Horo and David Lomax.
“It’s a real privilege to coach the national side,” said Ackland.
“It’ll be a strong team. We’ve got a lot of quality players to choose from.”
Besides his role with the Vodafone Junior Warriors, former Kiwi Ackland has an extensive coaching history in Auckland, Australia and France as well as coaching Samoa at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.
Kidwell guided the Junior Kiwis to a 1-1 result in a two-match series against the Junior Kangaroos in 2010 and victory in a one-off clash in Newcastle last year.
While it wasn’t ideal to have a coach withdraw at this stage of preparation, NZRL CEO Jim Doyle was confident about Ackland filling the void.
“John has been involved in our system, he has great knowledge of the game and under 20 players especially, and he has coached the best Toyota Cup team in two of the last three years,” he said. “We’re very pleased to have someone of his calibre step into the position.”
An extended Junior Kiwi squad will be announced next week with the final squad, including players from the Toyota Cup grand final, announced on Tuesday October 2.