Michael Maguire: Rugby League in America could be huge

Drew Darbyshire

New Zealand coach Michael Maguire thinks rugby league in America could be massive one day and would like to take his side to the United States again next year.

The Kiwis fell short to a 36-18 defeat to England in what was a blockbusting match in Denver.

There were nearly 20,000 in attendance at the Mile High Stadium and Maguire thinks the sport could be big in America in the not too distant future.

He said: “One thing the Americans do is get behind their sport and if we can get rugby league into the American market then I think it could be huge.

“They like contact and the defensive side of the game and I think the sport could grow if we bring ourselves further into the American market.

“As an event, I thought it was really good. It is new into America and they made plenty of noise when the boys were putting the hits in. There were probably a few people who didn’t know what was going on but I think they enjoyed it.

“It has been a really good trip. I know we didn’t get the result and we are hurting at the moment but to get the opportunity to bring a group of men away to experience the Denver Broncos and a baseball game was good and their training was really good as well.”

The Denver Test was Maguire’s first taste of coaching on the international stage and he said it will live long in his memory.

When asked if he would like the Kiwis to play in America next year, he replied: “Yes I would.

“It is my first time that I have been fortunate to be around the international game and it is very special.

“I always knew it was special but it is right up there with the biggest experiences I have had as a coach. We should bring it together more in some way and I’m sure the people in the background are doing that.

“I hope everyone realises how special international football is and on the back of the World Cup we have shown that.

“Everyone in the rugby league world needs to recognise that we have got a special product and if we can get the game out more like we did then it is really going to grow our game.”