Lions secure Mitchell services

2010-09-02 09:36

Johannesburg - Super 15 franchise the Force, has released coach John Mitchell from the final year of his contract and the New Zealander will join the Golden Lions on a three-year contract.

This was announced by Lions president Kevin de Klerk and CEO Manie Reyneke on Thursday.

Mitchell, former All Black loose forward, has been with the Lions Absa Currie Cup side on a consultancy basis this season.

"Since John has been with us we have been most impressed with his ability across our entire coaching structure," said De Klerk, himself a former Springbok lock.

"It has been no secret we wanted to engage him on a longer term basis, but we realised this was always going to be subject to the Force agreeing to an early release.

"We are thankful and appreciative that the Force gave us the green light. We are getting not only a man of high ethics who cherishes the history, culture and camaraderie of rugby, but who boasts an exceptional coaching pedigree at the very highest level," added the former Springbok lock.

De Klerk said Lions coach Dick Muir, had been a part of and conversant with the process of contracting Mitchell. "Dick, who is obviously now involved with the Springboks, is still the director of rugby at the Lions with John as the head coach.

"Muir was instrumental in helping us secure Mitchell's services and will play a role in our plans going forward."

De Klerk said Mitchell would base himself in Johannesburg for the greater part of the year and be in charge of the Lions in both the Absa Currie Cup and the Vodacom Super 15.

Rugby WA (Western Australia) chairperson Geoff Stooke, said the Force and rugby in Western Australia owed a great deal to Mitchell who started with a blank sheet of paper on his arrival six years ago and built a strong foundation for long term success.

Mitchell will be succeeded at the Force by Richard Graham, presently the Wallabies' skills coach.

As coach of the All Blacks Mitchell tasted success against The Boks with a 100 percent record of seven wins in seven matches - including a 52-16 drubbing at Loftus Versfeld in 2003 - and a comprehensive 29-9 defeat in the quarter-final of the World Cup in Melbourne in 2003.

He ended up with an All Black coaching record of 23 Test wins from 27 games - an 85% winning record, the highest of any All Black coach in the professional era. His vast coaching pedigree includes stints as Clive Woodward's assistant with the England team from 1997 to 2000, the Waikato National Provincial Championship side, the Chiefs Super 12 side and most recently taking the difficult job of establishing the Western Force in the Super 14 and creating a rugby culture in Perth.

As a player Mitchell gained All Black colours on the 1993 tour to Great Britain. He was not capped but played in six victorious mid-week games; captaining the All Blacks on three occasions.

In Waikato he was a legend, having played 134 times and captaining them a record 86 times, in a career highlighted by many other achievements.

"When I took over as president of the Lions I said I was only interested in leading a province of winners," concluded De Klerk. "The appointment of a coach of John Mitchell's stature confirms that goal."


  • well done - 2010-09-02 09:43


  • Sakkie Sidedraft - 2010-09-02 09:46

    Goeie werk. Ons kort 'n sterk Leeus span in SA. Ek dink die man sal hulle weer op die regte pad kry. Oop die oomblik doen hy goeie werk. Sterkte Leeus.

  • scrum cap - 2010-09-02 10:12

    Keep Muir in Snor's pocket & away from the Lions and see what happens with Mitchell in charge!!

  • JanG - 2010-09-02 10:18

    Watch this space......

  • Polly - 2010-09-02 10:19

    Now we are cooking with gas!!!! Go John . Lets show the Blou Tru%#*e and the Cape Town "bergies" what the Lions can do with a decent coach. Any bets the Lions win the Currie Cup in 2011. Roaaaaarrrrrr!!!!!!

  • Brandon - 2010-09-02 10:44

    Hell... the Lions may be worth watching again in the near future. Well done, best move in a decade.

  • Dan - 2010-09-02 10:59

    Does that mean all 15 Lions supporters can get out of the closet now?

  • Why Not? - 2010-09-02 11:05

    Uiteindelik!! Ek het lankal gese dat SA Rugby van beskikbare oorsese afrigters moet gebruik. Hulle kom met nuwe idees en spelpatrone en bring 'n nuwe dimensie aan SA Rugby, wat andersins presies dieselfde bly met SA Afrigters. En die teenoorgestelde is ook waar, kyk watse sukses het Heyneke Meyer en Brendon Venter in Engeland gehad, omdat hulle daar aangekom het met nuwe idees en spelpatrone i.v.g. met die standaard van rugby speel in Engeland. John Mitchell gaan 'n groot verskil maak en die Lions gaan 'n paar ander unies hard op die neus stamp. Ek hoop dat daar meer van oorsese afrigters in die toekoms gebruik gemaak sal word, nie noodwendig afrigtingsposte spesifiek nie, maar hulpafrigters ens. Ek weer vir 'n feit dat Eddy Jones 'n groot aandeel gehad het toe hy saam met Jake White afgerig het, bloot omdat hy ander maniere en idees gehad het. Goeie werk Lions en sterkte!! Ek sal nou stywer moet duim vashou vir my span as julle teen hulle speel, want ek glo julle sal weer 'n krag in SA Rugby word, soos dit hoort!!

  • Steevo - 2010-09-02 11:08

    That's it! Best news this year! One thing-Get Johan van Deventer back! Huge potential! Also...John, do whatever you can to get the meanest mo-fo locks in the country! Make a huge difference!

  • Dave - 2010-09-02 11:13

    Good work! Now all the Pussycats have to do is find some players with more than a pea between their ears

  • Dronkie - 2010-09-02 11:37

    Cheetah management please take note - the Lions are heading in the right direction....don't get left behind !!! Well done Lions - Leeuloop hulle

  • Je - 2010-09-02 11:53

    Lions are where the Cheetahs were years ago. Everyone in the country want them to win something somewhere. They are not a force for years now. They owe the Gautengers big time. Come on John !!

  • Piet Verdriet - 2010-09-02 12:40

    Bakgat!!!!! Nou is daar hoop vir die Lions en die ander spanne sal moet ligloop vir die NUWE, VERBETERDER LEEUS. Veral die WeeeeePlobleme of te wel die bergbokkies, sommer al hierdie naweek. GO! GO! GO! LIONS!!!!!!!!

  • goose - 2010-09-02 12:40

    Great decission Lions, within the next year or two we are going to see a great team. Should make the S15 very interesting. Another strong CC/S15 team could only be good for SA rugby.

  • The Judge - 2010-09-02 14:18

    Hats off to de Klerk. Admittedly he didn't have huge boots to fill, but he sure has displayed vision that might well ensure a better Lions team. Must agree with Steevo, now go get some mean robust locks, relocate from that crappy Ellispark to a place where families can go and you are well on your way.

  • STORMER - 2010-09-02 17:22

    Clever move Lions. I think this is perhaps the finest move the union has made yet...EVER. I am a touch JALOERS...

  • Blue Jake - 2010-09-02 21:11

    @Polly. You want a cracker?

  • Tommygun - 2010-09-03 02:07

    GREAT now get him to coach the Boks!!! What he and Carlos has done for the Lions youngsters is pure magic. Just emagine what they could do with the talent available to them in the national mix. World Cup in the bag!

  • pages:
  • 1