Mitchell: I won't pack my bags

2011-07-07 22:21

Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg - "We could also be part of the negativity. Or we can decide to focus on what is within out control - to win rugby games."

After a nightmare week for the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU), it's easy to forget that there is a team that has already sweated it out on the training field in the build-up to the Currie Cup.

The tournament starts next Friday at Coca-Cola Park for the Lions when they take on the Pumas - and Mitchell and his coaching team are planning big things.

The coach is not focusing on what is happening in the boardroom, even though he has pleaded a united front from the union's management on a few occasions this year.

Mitchell says that the split between the GLRU and its partner, GumaTAC, has not made him think about packing his bags.

"It's the last thing I'm thinking of. We have to lead the organisation by focusing on our task - and that is rugby," said Mitchell.

"It's a pity that that relationship (with the partner) was ended. We also need to remember that the agreement was drawn up in such a manner that it promoted the acquisition of players and the development of amateur rugby. And that is where I'd like to see change."

Little has changed for Mitchell and the union's best players - and they could lead the Lions in the right direction by mounting a serious challenge for the Currie Cup.

Their recent 25-28 defeat to the Valke in a friendly game is not a cause for concern as it was a Lions under-21 side that played.

"The Super Rugby tournament is over and we now want to build on the consistency we created in last year's Currie Cup. We will also try to expand our depth in the tournament," he said in reference to the young players that may still get an opportunity to play in the tournament.

Mitchell said that the Lions' playing squad had been cut considerably in weeks leading into the Currie Cup.

Only players that are Super Rugby contenders will be kept.

GumaTAC said last week after the split with the GLRU that the union had up to 90 contracted players, of which some were not even participating in training.

Scrumhalf Rory Kockott and flyhalf André Pretorius have also left to play their rugby in France.

There have been no acquisitions ahead of the Currie Cup, but the Lions have enough depth to be considered Currie Cup contenders.

The absence of contracted Springboks from the Sharks, Western Province and Blue Bulls could pave the way for the Lions and Cheetahs to have a good Currie Cup.

Wing Lionel Mapoe and New Zealand backline player James Kamana are injured and will therefore not be able to play against the Pumas next Friday.

Flank Michael Rhodes still has to serve out his full suspension for foul play in the Super Rugby match against the Highlanders.

Tighthead prop Kevin Buys will not play in the Currie Cup this year after injuring his knee on the Lions' Australasian tour.


  • MB1810 - 2011-07-08 07:57

    Well, all I can say is most South Africans would have packed their bags and started looking for greener pastures. Good for him, for sticking around, he has been great for the Lions this season and I'm looking forward to what he can get from them in the next.

      donkerhond - 2011-07-08 08:33

      Luckily he's from NZ. So we are the greener pasture ;)

      rugby_guru - 2011-07-08 10:45

      Thats because us as South African's (the ones that have left) always think the grass is greener, while we live in one of if not the best country in the world... I'm not going anyway, when our national anthem comes on, nothing makes me feel as good inside and proud to be part of this country... So happy about all the scum that left, you not welcome in this country...

      ssrabits - 2011-07-08 15:13

      its got nothing to do with greener pastures. anyone would leave a country with high crime rates to live in nz and aus. Hes done his time in NZ and OZ with rugby and has been unsucessful at getting results with the Force and in NZ. Why would you go back to NZ and Aus, when you have a poor reputation at getting good results??

  • Kaapie - 2011-07-08 08:04

    Quitters dont win and winners dont quit

  • chopie - 2011-07-08 08:05

    Sad to see the rugby union I support is going under like this ..I can remeber the old transvaal mean machine back in the days ...I hope that the management team can resolve the issues. So many SpringBokke has come from this Union and we must keep on producing them. Hope the Lions have a good Currie Cup even if all the other Union's Bokke isn't playing it will do our pride some good and attract the supporters again.

  • Jack Sparrow - 2011-07-08 08:24

    If the Lions had no money in November to pay their players and had to take out a loan from their equity partner for R16m to cover 3 months - that means their cash burn must be in the order of R5m per month and they must be another R10m in the hole today - up to R26m and counting and no sponsor will want to eat that kind bill on a monthly basis with a side that is shedding players and supporters. Despite the loss of players (who clearly are not getting paid) and the saving of those costs - they should slash and burn the administrators and coaches who outnumber the players. Heaven have mercy on the Lions.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-07-08 08:52

      First thing they should do, is get Dick Muir to pay back the 2.2million rand he has been taking every year from the Union, for doing nothing.

      BlueRaven - 2011-07-08 10:10

      @SAFFA-CAT Dick's name says it all

  • Shauno - 2011-07-08 08:37

    I respect his resolve and commitment to his and the Lions cause, and I would really love to see them build on some of their S15 successes. Go Sharks though

  • Slingervel - 2011-07-08 09:07

    John Mitchell, you just stay where you are! It is only with you at the helm of the coaching team that the Lions would be able to secure a new business partner and retain the franchise. You have done us proud this season!

  • Johan - 2011-07-08 09:29

    @ Sparrow...these are your thoughts....Why did they get new sponsors if what you are saying is true...?( why are 29 equity partners still wanting to sign? what players players left? and why is the coach still hanging around? who says that they are not paid? Why is Mr.Gumede wanting to buy shares from SMSA while their trying to strike a deal with the GLRU if he has no business with them? It all comes to politics and greed.The union is far better off that they are made out to be by the media. @ Chopie......they are not going under, they are in fact doing the opposite.....relax and keep supporting them.

      Paulus - 2011-07-08 10:12

      HEAR HEAR - COME ON THE LIONS!!!!!!!!!!!

      Jack Sparrow - 2011-07-08 11:31

      Johan - while we are on the subject of money & finances at the Lions: “Emphasis of matter Without qualifying our opinion, we draw attention to note 3 of the report of the executive committee which indicates that the group incurred a loss of R 11.8 million in 2010 (2009: R 8.5 million), and that current liabilities exceed current assets by R 44.2 million (2009: R 26 million). This indicates the existance of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern.” Draw your own conclusions.

  • The Goose - 2011-07-08 09:39

    Now that is a coach!

  • Carl Muller - 2011-07-08 09:58

    Why do the administrators always take all the momey and do nothing....

  • BlueRaven - 2011-07-08 10:08

    As a Bulls and Blue Bulls supporter I sincerely hope that the Lions have a GREAT Currie Cup, in fact I would not mind one bit if they take the trophy. We want to see a strong Lions team again.

      Plonker - 2011-07-08 11:00

      @BlueRaven, Spoken like a true genntelman and a sportsman, makes one respect the bulls supporters that much more. Thanks buddy :-)

      Delano - 2011-07-08 12:01

      @Raven - i share your sentiments, hope the LIONS recover soon from this. As Bulls supporters, we should know.

      Mal Moer - 2011-07-08 12:43

      absolutely well said.. my respect for Michell just sky rocketted and for that commitement he must be commended, so yeah I really hope out neighours make huge inroads and keep on building on what they have acchieved this year already taking into consideration where they were a year ago.. Well done mate. respect..!

      BlueRaven - 2011-07-08 13:42

      @Delano you know it! We were down and out and got back to winning ways. The Lions can do it as well

  • theunsvw - 2011-07-08 13:46

    I wonder how many pay days you'l miss and still say that...But lets hope you stick to your guns, and show us what you are made off..Surely you would reap the rewards later mate,....You are setting a good example of leadership, It will most definately pay off at the end, especially with the Lions.

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