Cape Town - After the Stormers confirmed the hasty exit of Eddie Jones on Friday, Sport24’s Herman Mostert looks at potential candidates to take over the head coaching role at the Cape franchise:
The former All Black, Western Force and Golden Lions coach earlier this year turned down a job offer from the Stormers.
He was only offered a two-year deal and wanted something more permanent, but Mitchell on Thursday said he would definitely be interested again if the Stormers were to make him an offer.
"I showed some interest in the Stormers and was offered the coaching position," Mitchell told SuperSport.com on Thursday.
"Unfortunately, negotiations did not turn my head. I would consider the Stormers' coaching position if it was offered, but nobody has spoken to me.”
Mitchell’s enterprising coaching approach would be welcomed by Stormers fans - who had grown tired of a one-dimensional approach which saw them struggle for tries in recent years.
Backroom politics have reportedly been an on-going issue at Western Province Rugby and Mitchell is not the sort of character who would stand for that.
However, with Gert Smal as Director of Rugby providing a buffer for the head coach to focus on all things rugby-related, Mitchell may well be a promising prospect to lead the Capetonians.
With Jones gone, Smal - the franchise’s Director of Rugby - will be overseeing the Stormers off-season programme.
But if no suitable candidate is agreed on before the start of next year’s campaign, Smal should seriously consider coaching the team.
He has vast experience, having coached the Stormers and WP in the previous decade, as well as being assistant coach to the Springboks (2004-2007) and Ireland (2008-2013).
While there is no doubting his coaching credentials and abilities, at present it appears the Western Province Rugby Union does not view the current Currie Cup coach as experienced enough to lead the Super Rugby outfit.
However, it's not beyond the realms of possibility for him to be asked to step into Jones’ shoes should Smal not find another candidate.
The former UCT coach achieved success with WP’s junior teams in recent years and also led the senior team to this year’s Currie Cup final.
The former Sharks mentor was earlier this year linked to the Stormers job but nothing came of those reports.
He coached the Sharks between 2008 and 2013 before being shown the door when John Smit took over as CEO of the coastal franchise. After that, he became forwards coach of Ireland, before returning to New Zealand as assistant coach of the Hurricanes.
Plumtree is contracted along with Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd until the end of 2016 at the Wellington-based franchise, but a head coaching role may prove enticing for the former Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and Natal loose forward.
The former Springbok and Italy coach is regarded by many as one of the finest rugby brains in the country and currently shares his knowledge as a pundit on pay-channel SuperSport.
Mallett recently indicated that he had no immediate intention to return to coaching and it would take a lot of negotiation for him to change his mind.