London - Former All Blacks and Lions coach John Mitchell has rejoined Sale Sharks, taking
up a position within the struggling Premiership club's management board.
The 48-year-old New Zealander had been carrying out some work for the
English club last month as a consultant at a time when he was still head
coach at the Lions, despite being suspended on
Mitchell was subsequently cleared of these charges and then resigned from his
position, freeing him up to take up his post with Sale, where he served
as a player-coach in the late 1990s.
Mitchell will also remain in a technical advisor role at the Lions.
Sale have not confirmed what title Mitchell will take but he will join
chief executive Steve Diamond, head coach Bryan Redpath and businessman
Ian Blackhurst on the strategy management board.
He flew back into Manchester on Tuesday and took a coaching session the following day.
The Sharks are hoping his influence will help them pull clear of
relegation trouble, having been cast five points adrift at the bottom
with one win from nine games.
"Dimes (Diamond) sort of gave me an SOS call to see what was happening," Mitchell said.
"At that particular time I was in suspension and had to go through a
process. I'm thrilled to have got through that process to be found
innocent of all allegations.
"The next thing was to be reinstated in my position and then, at that
point, I mutually agreed with the Golden Lions that they have moved on
and emotionally I have moved on.
"That's what I had to get done. It's taken a lot longer than I would have hoped.
"It's been six months and five days of a hearing, so it's been an
arduous process but I had to get everything cleared so that I could move
on. My reputation is still very much intact and also my brand."
Sale announced sweeping changes to their structure on October 31, with rugby director Redpath moved to a new position.
Since then former Sale hooker Diamond has taken a more hands-on role in
the coaching department while awaiting Mitchell's arrival.