13 Mar 2014

Cleary ends link with Kiwis

10:28 am on 13 March 2014

The Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary's time as assistant coach of the New Zealand rugby league side is over.

While Stephen Kearney has been reappointed to the head coaching role, despite the disappointing effort at last year's World Cup, Cleary's NRL commitments mean he won't be part of the coaching staff.

Cleary took up the role in July last year in the lead up to the World Cup.

In a statement on the New Zealand Rugby League's website high performance manager Tony Iro has confirmed they're looking for a replacement for Cleary, with Kearney to have two assistants.

The Kiwis' first Test of the year is the ANZAC match against Australia in Sydney on May 2nd.

They'll also have the Four Nations tournament at the end of the year with the matches yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile the Warriors coach Matt Elliott has quashed speculation of Glen Fisiiahi leaving the NRL club to join the Canterbury Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs have been searching for a replacement for star fullback Ben Barba this season and reports from Sydney have linked Fisiiahi to the club.

The 24-year-old's a natural fullback, but has been forced to play on the wing since the arrival of the Warriors' star signing Sam Tomkins.

However, Elliott says they will not release Fisiiahi from his contract, which doesn't expire until the end of the 2015 season.