Mitchell tired of mediocrity

2011-04-25 07:19

Johannesburg - Fed-up Lions coach John Mitchell urged his team’s billionaire investors to take action if they want to put an end to the losing culture at the union.

Mitchell was speaking after his team’s 34-30 loss to the Chiefs on Saturday and made it painstakingly clear that he was not going to put up with the mediocrity of some of his players.

"I’m sick of making excuses," he said.

"It is the same old errors turning up and some individuals are leaving me no choice looking forward to the future."

The quick fix to the former All Black coach’s headaches would be for the team’s money-men to go out and sign a few big-name players.

"It (losing) is a cultural issue here, it has been here for some time and clearly we are going to have to invest in the future of this organisation," said Mitchell.

"The investors are certainly going to have to put their money where their mouth is."

The recruitment of at least three experienced players -- preferable in the engine room -- is sure to complement the talent they have in their youth structures.

As things currently stand, the Lions are relying on youngsters to compete at a level they are not quite ready for.

Although they are doing their very best, their best simply is not good enough for the demands of Super Rugby as they cannot reproduce the needed intensity with every match.

As far as the most valuable assets of the union -- the players -- are concerned, the new coaching structures are beginning to deliver results at lower levels. With Mitchell at the helm, players also have no choice but to act more professionally than they have done in the past.

The team’s nine losses in the competition can therefore be attributed to of a lack of players that will hold their own at Test level.

"There is a strategy in place and they (the investors) are going to have to deliver, because otherwise we are just going to be going through the same-old same-old."

"We have a very good critical mass here of good footballers that are probably experiencing their 10th or 11th cap and they are having to learn the hard way."

Apart from long serving stalwarts Wikus van Heerden, Andre Pretorius and flyhalf Butch James, who will only be joining the Lions during their second week on tour, the rest of the squad consists of players with very little or no international experience to fall back on.

In the last three years, the Lions have lost many players who are currently considered to be among the best in the world.


  • catbrains - 2011-04-25 08:40

    what has Mitchell ever achieved in coaching? maybe the investors should start with him

      Bosduif - 2011-04-25 09:25

      He has the best record as an All Black coach.... nuff said.

      catbrains - 2011-04-25 09:34

      Bosduif HUH?? he coached new Zealand for one year only, 2002 to 2003 really successful ,they must have been tired of all the success in one year .please get your facts correct before you shoot your mouth off

      Francois - 2011-04-25 09:37

      Hallo Bosduif, disregarding his record at the All Blacks, it took him ten weeks to find out that he did not have the players for the tournament?

      Bosduif - 2011-04-25 09:39

      oh please. He was fired because the AB's lost one game in the world cup. If you look closely at the FACTS he is the AB coach with the best record. kids...

      Bosduif - 2011-04-25 09:41

      Also go and have a look at Force players (even tho they moved around) he converted into international players. JM is not the problem.

      catbrains - 2011-04-25 09:44

      i did bosduif ,just google and see

      catbrains - 2011-04-25 09:49

      what i am saying is, that we have enough good coaches out of work in our own country ,why do we always want to take the leftovers from other country's,may i remind you ,the every time s.a. teams won the super rugby tournament ,they where coached by local coaches . nuff said

      wbs777 - 2011-04-25 12:48

      You obviously have no clue what you are talking about. What about John Hart who coached the All Blacks for years??? Maybe you've got the brain of a posduif....

      Tinus - 2011-04-25 14:03

      The last time the Lions won more than a couple of games in a super season was under another New Zealander namely Laurie Maines way back in 2002 then the rot started under Frans Ludike, and it seems that history is repeating it self.

  • Sensible! - 2011-04-25 08:50

    Finally a lions coach who calls it like it is, Come on My Lions lets finish strong.

  • Dolittle - 2011-04-25 08:55

    Please Mr Mitchell!, buy Matfield, Bakkies & Spies!, we will toss WO in for free (buy 3 & get one free). We also want to start winning again, the only difference is we do not care for experience anymore! The "experienced" player knows how to bul$$hit" the system and get away with it.

  • Bosduif - 2011-04-25 09:31

    My advice to Mitchell. Go and get Wepener, Heinke, and Mujati back and a decent slot pairing. Also invest money in Joe Van Niekerk and make him your captain. Get Frans Steyn here and go an get Juan De Jongh and give him some game time. You can work with Taute, Murray, Mapoe, Strauss, Rhodes and Minnie. JM doesn't have to look far for quality most of them are old Lions players anyways.

      Serias - 2011-04-25 09:41

      Jip, go get Claassens, Hougaard, Steyn, Mujati, van Niekerk, Wentzel, Britz, James, BJ etc,those one's playing overseas,the money is in Gauteng. With these players, you'll have what you need to become competitive.

      MrMojoRising - 2011-04-25 12:58

      Hey hey, leave Juan De Jongh out of this. Bring back the over seas players.

      pistolpete - 2011-04-25 21:18


  • Dal2000 - 2011-04-25 09:32

    He states the truth. This is what I said a week ago, but I was told "Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit".

  • TheWasp - 2011-04-25 09:38

    The Lions just can't 'finish' off, they play with their heart but the constant fumbles and silly mistakes are costing them big time and it's awefull to watch.....the empty stadiums should send a clear signal that supporters are fed up!!!!

  • Siyazama - 2011-04-25 09:49

    Not a Lions supporter but each week I watch and hope it will come right for you guys. Winning is about believing you are going to win before the game and being the hungriest team on the field. On Saturday there were plenty of opportunities but bad individual decision making at the final stage of a good series of moves. You need a player with that X factor who the team can play around.

  • burtfred - 2011-04-25 10:00

    The solution to Lions rugby does not lie in getting the two ANC-connected billionaire owners to throw more money at the team. That would be like pouring perfume on a dungheap. The first step in developing a winning rugby culture in Johannesburg should start with the administrators and the "investors". Lions rugby has always been more about money than about the game. That is part of the reason why it is so easy for other franchises to poach top players - just offer them more money to move. Any talented youngster is very easy to tempt to places like Cape Town, Durban, Bath or Perpignon. Why live in a "World class African f**kup", when you can get paid lots of money to play your sport in beautiful surroundings. Having Mitchell as coach does not help matters - just like most Kiwis - he talks a great game and awards himself the trophy before the kickoff. He is no doubt a product of the self-congratulatory NZ press, who only have eyes for the all-blacks. The all blacks that haven't won the world cup in decades.

  • Rugbylover - 2011-04-25 10:29

    I am a Stormer supporter and i love watching the Lions i think Mitchell is right they need some experienced players and He is one of the best coaches the Lions have in a short while i hope they have a good tour

      Raymond - 2011-04-25 19:32

      Yes,I am also a STORMER and I put Provincialism aside and support all our teams.The Lions have really been a shade unlucky in some games by losing by small margins.The guys are really trying but they can't seem to round off a move although the opportunity has been there to score points.Having said this,I agree that yes,I think a few experienced guys will just add the finishing touch.There are a few good talented young guys in this team and especially Jaco Taute,among others.I wish the Lions well on their tour Down Under.

  • EXBULL - 2011-04-25 10:58

    A seven year old South African boy was at the centre of a courtroom drama today when he challenged a Pretoria Supreme Court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents, and the judge awarded custody to his sole aunt. The boy protested that his aunt beat him more than his parents and refused to live there. When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents the boy claimed that they beat him more than anyone. The judge dramatically allowed the boy to chose who should have custody of him. Custody was today granted to the Lions Rugby team, as the boy firmly believes they are not capable of beating anyone

      Tinus - 2011-04-25 11:27

      I am a Lions suporter and could not have said it better i love the sense of humour

      Kudubul - 2011-04-25 11:34

      ha ha can only agree with the rest of the people in the country that we as Blue Bulls supporters have some mind twisted physco caracters!

  • GraemeBB - 2011-04-25 12:04

    Mitchell - perhaps we can send Ludeke back to the Lions, and you come to the Bulls. Only the Bulls will like this idea :-)

      MrMojoRising - 2011-04-25 13:03

      Can work, but send Matfield and co. with him. Fair trade . . . for the Bulls.

  • Ivor - 2011-04-25 12:21

    Personally I think the playewrs are doing OK. Mitchell needs to focus on his place kickers who are just not up to scratch. It would have been a completely different story had even two more conversions per game gone over. The Lions would be sitting with 5 wins!! Its unacceptable to miss so many conversions at any level!!

      LDP - 2011-04-25 23:10

      Ivor, you are my hero. I have been saying exactly this since the start of the season. S15 is always tight and you are never going to win if you are missing 40% or more of your penalty kicks and convertions. Lions have lost how many games by less then 7?? Those could have all been wins with a place kicker who is getting 75-80% over. Even Pretorius who is usually brilliant had shocking kicking games...they NEED to focus on this. Thanks you Ivor!

  • chris - 2011-04-25 14:40

    Hello Mr Dolittle wat op dees aarde moet ons met die drie bulle maak hulle speel maar bra swak sover en wat is hulle beter as enige iemand anders al die spanne het maar probleme en die drie is oor die muur ,Bakkies speel te vuil en Matfield lyk deesda soos n' onder kopperaal wat n' streep gekry het want kyk net mooi hy het sweere onder altwee sy arms gekry en nou wys ky almal hy's die kaptein,Spies is nie meer wat hy was nie hy kan dan nie eers meer ver weg breek nie dan laat hy die bal val of die ander span vang hom te gou .Ons het die spelers hulle moet net saam speel dan sal dit n ander ding wees.

  • Selwyn - 2011-04-25 16:05

    Give me that Lions team,and I'LL change them to world beaters in 2 weeks.The problem is no gameplan,no idea about angle running, plus ??

  • catbrains - 2011-04-25 16:23

    wbs777 ja, everybody in the world is a complete idiot except u , i rest my case

  • pistolpete - 2011-04-25 21:22

    I believe Tampon are going to sponsor the Lions because they are going through a particularly bad period. :-(

  • LDP - 2011-04-25 23:15

    Do you guys remember when the Lions started playing better and we all saw the a light at the end of the tunnel and thought they were on their way out of their 'funk'?? Their running/attacking looked so good...everyone was saying "that is the Kiwi influence, especially Carlos Spencer rubbing off on them, they look great". They have really lost that now (for some reason). They look/are very predictable (as the commentators keep saying) on attack and don't really seem to know what to do. What happened?

  • rugby_guru - 2011-04-26 07:30

    I agree the problem is the players in this case not the coaching like it is at the Bulls, the bulls have the players but not the coach, and we all knew Ludeke was going to fall when his passed down game plan was read like a book by other experieced coaches.. However with the Lions the problem is certainly the players, they are simply not good enough... Ye they have one or two good players but not enough in the forwards and backline to bring in the those young players.. For example if Lambie started in the Lions squad he would never have been successful... Put a massive cash injection into the Lions and keep it that way and they going to win games..

  • OnSide - 2011-04-26 08:30

    Money is not always the only answer. You need much more. Look at what Heyneke Meyer did with the Bulls. He took a young team and made it into a force to be reckoned with. Even Joost had to work hard for his place in the team. If you really are a good coach, you can take any team and make it competitive. All you need is patience and hard work. @PosDuif Some guys might be good International coaches, but will suffer when it comes to coaching on provincial level. IMO, John Mitchell is one of them. He didn't do much with the Force since he started coaching them and he is going to struggle with the Lions as well if he does not learn to have patience. What he wants is quick results. Sometimes you need to dig deep to get the results you want. The problems at Lions rugby has been there for a while and will not be overcome within a short time. He is the Lions coach for less than a year and already he is complaining. What I say is, "Shutup and do your work. The result s will come."

  • Chuck - 2011-04-26 09:31

    LOL. That's the way, buy a team, that's the only way we are digging ourselves out of this hole. Lions are a joke, soooo frustraying to watch, I would rather Eat my beer bottle than drink another one while watching even one more minute of their crap. Fire the whole lot, there isn't even one that I can think of, including the coach that is worth the salaries they are being paid.

  • Echo Bravo - 2011-04-26 14:14

    Why is everybody in this country always knocking the coaches? If the players themselves would commit to the game as many of the players in any sport should, then we can have (which we do) some of the best sportsman / women in the world. Let the players commit to the game, let the coaches do their work and PLEASE KEEP THE POLITICIANS OUT OF SPORT?

  • pages:
  • 1