Mitchell empathises with Kings, Cheetahs

    2017-07-28 10:48

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - Bulls Head of Rugby John Mitchell knows exactly what it is like to be dumped out of Super Rugby and says he can empathise with the Cheetahs and the Kings

    Both of those franchises have been cut from next year's edition of the tournament as SANZAAR restructures the competition, and Mitchell had a similar experience back in 2012 when he was in charge of the Lions. 


    Back then Mitchell had other issues with the franchise that resulted in his suspension and then his reinstatement, but that was also the year the Lions were relegated from Super Rugby to make way for the Kings in 2013. 

    Mithcell ended up leaving the Lions towards the end of 2012, but that experience with them makes him feel for the Cheetahs and Kings. 

    "To be taken out of the most elite provincial competition in the southern hemisphere ... you have empathy for both those sides," Mitchell told Sport24 this week. 

    "We experienced a very similar things at the Lions where, rightly or wrongly, things weren't as transparent as they could have been.

    "People looking over their shoulders and not knowing about their future is not easy."

    The good news, though, is that both the Cheetahs and Kings look to have a future in the Pro12. 

    There has still been no official confirmation, but both franchises are expected to join the European competition from this year, with the new-look 'Pro14' getting underway in September. 

    Mitchell says it is a good move for both of the unions, especially given the possibility of World Rugby looking at future global club competitions.

    "Sometimes to go backwards to come forwards is not a bad thing," Mitchell said.

    "With World Rugby talking about a global competition, I can't really see the northern hemisphere giving up on their structures. It'll be more about the southern hemisphere fitting into the northern hemisphere, and if that does happen then our time zone is very suitable to northern hemisphere.

    "Strategically, it's not a bad move by SA Rugby but I do have empathy for the players."

    Ealrier this week, Kings coach Deon Davids told Sport24 that a number of his players who have signed with other unions or relocated overseas did so because of the uncertainty surrounding the Kings' future during the 2016 Super Rugby season. 

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