Lions suspend coach Mitchell

2012-06-22 15:05

Johannesburg - The Golden Lions Rugby Union have suspended coach John Mitchell with immediate effect.

This follows revelations that a group of players have presented a 'list of grievances' to GLRU president Kevin de Klerk as a result of the manner in which Mitchell treated his players.

De Klerk, in an interview with the Rugby365 website, confirmed that Mitchell has been suspended with immediate effect.

"The nature of the (players') complaints is so serious that we have suspended him (Mitchell), pending further investigation," De Klerk said.

Mitchell's assistants, Carlos Spencer and Johan Ackermann, will take charge of the team when the Super Rugby competition resumes next weekend.

The Lions' three remaining fixtures this season will see them take on the Stormers at Newlands (June 30), the Rebels in Johannesburg (July 7) and the Bulls in Pretoria (July 14).

The Lions are currently bottom of the South African Conference with two wins and 11 defeats in their 13 matches to date. They lie 14th in the Combined log, one point ahead of the Blues.

They are assured of finishing last in the South African Conference, which will in all likelihood see them be replaced by the Southern Kings for the 2013 tournament.

Mitchell is well known as a hard, no-nonsense type of coach.

A similar scenario played itself out in 2008 when he coached the Western Force when most of the players became fed up of his strict coaching methods. He was also unpopular as All Blacks coach and was sacked after they lost in the semifinals of the 2003 Rugby World Cup to Australia.


  • grant.butler.104 - 2012-06-22 15:07

    Along with Mallet my favorite coach on the Planet....not sure what to make of this to be honest...

      john.kirkwood.9619 - 2012-06-22 15:12

      lets wait for the investigation, this all a bit sudden

      hennie.grobler.543 - 2012-06-22 15:17

      It's because players want to be pampered and not coached. They are like little spoiled brats, when if the going gets tough, toys starts flying out of the cot. It's really a pity if the Lions should go on and loose a decent coach like Mitchell.

      nhamo.dzenyika - 2012-06-22 15:24

      I suppose they don't understand the South African culture since they are all not originally from here - by the way Mallet is from Zimbabwe for those who might not know

      Harold - 2012-06-22 15:30

      I don't agree, Hennie. When do you perform best at work? When your boss treats you like rubbish or like a human being?

      Stirrer - 2012-06-22 15:46

      Damn, Harold, second time today I'm agreeing with you! Hennie, Mitchell "might" be a good coach (although his general track record suggests otherwise) - OK, let's assume he IS a good coach. This still does not give him the right to treat the players like cr@p. They are grown-ups in a professional sport, not kids, and deserve to be treated accordingly. Furthermore, a coach is at the service of the team, not the other way round (note that the ANC government is making the same mistake ;-) Respect gets earned, it doesn't come automatically with the territory, and Mitchell obviously failed in that regard.

      Harold - 2012-06-22 15:50

      Stirrer, please don't. My reputation.

      René - 2012-06-22 15:56

      @Harold, if memory serves, he had similar problems at Western Force. But what is concerning is the 'The nature of the players' complaints is so serious....' Hectic... All in all, I think there's a huge amount of frustration this man has to deal with week in/out - also the Kings saga.... Sad that a union such as the Lions has to endure this kind of issues, 'bankruptcy, losing spot in S15, coaching issues' - mostly I am sorry for the fans/supporters.

      hennie.grobler.543 - 2012-06-22 15:58

      Harold & Stirrer. Okay, so I might have overreacted a little bit, but it 's only because when things seems to go wrong, it is always the coach that gets blamed first. It's funny that it took the players this long to realize that Mitchell is to strict. I guess some players perform better when a coach is less strict and obviously the other way around too.

      Stirrer - 2012-06-22 15:58

      LOL @Harold - dunno what it is - maybe the Baby Boks giving me a warm, fuzzy "Invictus" day? Don't worry, next week we're back to S15, and we'll be at each other's throats again.

      Harold - 2012-06-22 16:33

      I can't wait, Stirrer. This lovey dovey crap makes me sick. \r\n\r\nRene, everybody in my family are Lions supporters and I truly feel sorry for them.

      thomas.cannon.712 - 2012-06-23 00:05

      I hope they air the greivences to the public as we are only hearing one side of the story!! This reminds me of the Seatle grid-iron team that threatened to strike because their coach was driving them too hard in pre season training!! They didn't believe so many sprints and an obstacle course were necessary!!

      christopher.collings.9 - 2012-06-23 22:05

      Nhamo ur just as f*cking stupid as some of the clueless fools that comment on a sport they have never played before. FYI d*ckhead: Nicholas Vivian Howard Mallett was born on the 30th of October 1956 in Haileybury, England Rather shut up if u dont know what ur talking about because all ur doing is making a bigger fool of urself IDIOT

  • gregory.f.dean - 2012-06-22 15:17

    Interesting times ... who would be a coach?

      Harold - 2012-06-22 15:23

      Bring back Loffie.

      gary.hendrickse.5 - 2012-06-22 21:34

      Would be interesting to hear what somebody like Alex Ferguson would say about this. Its a joke. How does Kevin de Klerk all of a sudden realise his poor kittens are being bullied by a nasty coach?

  • yb.normal2 - 2012-06-22 15:18

    A few months ago, he was some the readers favourite for Bok Coach, now his own Lion's players do not even want him

  • raeez.omar.5 - 2012-06-22 15:18

    Im afraid we wont see Mitchell anymore. Things just seem to get worse at the Lions. mxm

  • nelius.vantonder - 2012-06-22 15:24

    REALLY????? He wins you a f**ing Currie Cup and this is how you repay him for lifting the Lions out of the ashes?! If this is the nature of the Lions then I am NO LONGER a Lions faithful supporter. When Mitch took the job he told the players he is hard, and this is his philosophy if you don't fit in then ship out. The rest who stayed accepted his hard ass philosophy and went on to win a Currie Cup!!! For goodness sake if anyone needs to be suspended its the players who complained and most of them in all likelihood is the players dragging the team and Union down! You know what I was always on the front line of defending the Lions with all my passion I will no longer do so! If this is your attitude and grattitude for a coach that WON you the Currie Cup - yes John Mitchel won the Currie Cup NOT the players as the players in that team are a band of rag tag washouts who didnt make it anywhere else in this rugby landscape...John Mitchel took them and made them a championship team! John Mitchel won that Currie Cup...I am ASHAMED of ever rooting for the Lions!

      danny.zulberg - 2012-06-22 16:30

      I agree - maybe the problem is the players?

      james.eayrs - 2012-06-22 16:32

      I couldn't have said it better.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-06-22 16:34

      In fairness, that wasn't a real Currie Cup, not in a RWC year.

      Etienne Labuschagne - 2012-06-22 17:52

      Agreed! Sick and tired of supporting a bunch of losers that cannot catch a rugby ball! Mitch was the best coach they had - pity the players can't except responsibility for playing poorly

      herman.vanderschyff - 2012-06-25 17:37

      History repeats itself. We won the Currie cup in 1999 against all odds Coach Laurie Mains,in 2000 players complaint about his strong discipline and he left. It took 12 years and a NZ coach for Lions to win Cup????

  • John - 2012-06-22 15:25

    He certainly hasn't produced a winning team and I haven't heard any other coach whinge as much as he does. Too often after a match instead of commenting on both his and the teams bad performance, he criticizes the ref or the opposing team.

      mike.olwagen - 2012-06-22 15:58

      All successful super rugby franchises have at least 8 national players in their squad +- 1/3 at least. Check the history books.Lions don't have that. In Curry Cup where playing field was more even I think he did well. He lost NZ job because someone had to carry the can after the defeat to Oz. Henry was only not fired after 2007 because NZ realized by then, hiring and firing coaches weren't the answer. My opinion, you cannot run a "World Class" rugby franchise from a somalian and nigerian slum in the east of the city. Firing the coach ain't gonna make a dime difference!

  • matt.prinsloo.1 - 2012-06-22 15:29

    alles goed en wel om n "hard, no-nonsense type of coach" te wees. MAAR dan beter jy resultate wys met jou span, anders gaan dit net back fire

      james.eayrs - 2012-06-22 16:39

      Wat van verlede jaar se Currie Beker? Wat daarvan dat Mitch die hele seisoen moes werk met net 30% van sy span wat nie aan beserings gely het nie? Wat van die administratiewe nagmerrie waarin hy heeltyd moes werk? As daar iemand is wat eerder die trek pas moet kry is dit De Klerk, sy kantoor en die groep klaende spelers.

      matt.prinsloo.1 - 2012-06-22 22:23

      James, ja wat van die beserings? Ek like nie om die beserings issue op bring nie. Dis iets wat maar enige afrigtings span maar moet manage jong. As die luck teen jou is met beserings, dan is dit maar net. Jy word geoordeel aan die 22 ouens wat speel op die dag, nie op die 30 wat beseer is nie.\r\n\r\nMaar ja, ek moet stem met n totale overall van die Lions franchise. Dit lyk na n gemors.

  • fanie.viljoen.73 - 2012-06-22 15:35

    And what would the REAL reason be?

  • Tiaan Liebenberg - 2012-06-22 15:42

    'But we are bottom of the log, why can't we go out and get drunk?' Moaners

  • pieter.leroux.77 - 2012-06-22 15:47

    Maybe he forced them to watch the Twilight Saga.... :)

      Harold - 2012-06-22 16:16

      If that happened then he should be bannished forever.

      reon.dereuck - 2012-06-22 19:55

      Worse, he forced them to watch there own games.

  • Koeloe - 2012-06-22 15:50

    This union is in such a state, who the hell cares!

  • Chriskoi1 - 2012-06-22 16:01

    Stuur die seuntjies eers army toe sodat hulle eers manne kan word dan sal hulle iets begin beteken en daar sal hulle respek en maniere en disepline leer dis wat hulle kort.

      tim.attwell.77 - 2012-06-23 08:58

      Kamp Staaldraad?

  • rowlandcain - 2012-06-22 16:15

    Don’t forget the golden loins won the curry cup last year all because of Mitchell...

      David - 2012-06-22 17:08

      yep. they had the balls then.

      Lara - 2012-06-22 18:16

      Between the loins

  • rowlandcain - 2012-06-22 16:16

    Don’t forget the golden loins won the curry cup last year all because of Mitchell...

      goyougoodthing - 2012-06-22 16:36

      Why don't any of you know how to spell Currie Cup?

      terry.burne - 2012-06-22 18:03

      maybe there is a bit too much focus on the 'golden loins' and not enough focus on rugby!!!

  • keith.fincham - 2012-06-22 16:17

    The man won you a Currie Cup ffs. Persevere! Duh. Lions a lost cause. Sorry Mr Mitchell.

  • timgaulza - 2012-06-22 16:21

    The man stayed to help you out despite being stabbed ( and he won you a curry cup - you ungrateful gits, I can't support you any longer.

  • emmett.gracie - 2012-06-22 16:31

    As a kiwi Mitchell does have a bit of a rep for playing "mind games" with his players. Quite a few of the teams he has coached have been visibly successful in their early periods when he shocks and drives some really strong performances, only for dissent and distrust at the games to emerge when familiarity starts to set in. There is no doubt he is a hugely capable coach, but he can also be a very complicated character and there often seems to be more going on than there appears...

      emmett.gracie - 2012-06-22 16:33

      I meant 'speaking as a kiwi' - came out wrong :)

  • ej.smith.589 - 2012-06-22 16:41

    well I didnt hear any players complaining during their successful Currie cup campaign. When things go wrong in a team, there's always a scapegoat. We saw it with the Blues a few weeks ago and now we are seeing it here. Its always the coach that get the blame. Players must also be accountable for the way their season has turned out, not just the coach.

  • jalo.kula - 2012-06-22 17:06

    shame, the cubs are crying...

  • jacques.duplessis.3785 - 2012-06-22 17:31

    They are a joke,they fire the only guy that can actually work with them?well I'm sorry if u don't win anything how do u expect a coach to stay calm?

  • kenneth.fisher.750 - 2012-06-22 17:48

    When the lions lost under Ludeke he was called all sorts of names and kicked out. Ludeke has since won the S14 with the Bulls. I am a lions supporter and always have been. What are the reasons that they suspended him immediately? Where were these complaints when we won the Currie Cup? (Oh by the way, they don't etch into the cup that it was won in a RWC year so it DOES count!!) Suspend the WHOLE LOT and get to the bottom of the problems instead of crucifying the coach every time.

  • terry.burne - 2012-06-22 18:01

    As a Sharks supporter I gotta ask - Why couldn't the Lions have had their melt-down the week BEFORE playing the Sharks???? LOL! Actually, it is sad to see this complete melt-down - the players, the coach, the union ......... nobody knows who is going to have a job next year. It must be very stressful allround.

  • guy.kleyn - 2012-06-22 18:02

    To whoever(I can't see the authors name on my browser) \wrote\ this article, \r\nYou pretty much copy-pasted the entire text, bar a few sentences, from a previous article.\r\nLazy and boring!

  • gary.hendrickse.5 - 2012-06-22 18:12

    Just a pity the long suffering Lions fans didnt suspend the Lions PLAYERS. Stop crying for the Lions, they havnt performed for a decade and dont deserve to be a S15 team.

  • warren.petersen.733 - 2012-06-22 18:48

    Won the currie cup with this sad they can't stand up 2 super 15 looking 4 excuses 2 save their exorbitant salaries.#\? :loosers......

  • lawrence.g.beck - 2012-06-22 19:36

    What is the World coming to when players can have a coach suspended for being too harsh? I'm sure the players will be looking for a coach who doesn't mind losing and allows complacency on his squad. If that's the case, then I'm sure we'll see the continued decline of Lions rugby. Really sad, because I can't see myself supporting another South African team.

  • andries.greeff.1 - 2012-06-22 20:04

    Hardly anything short of criminal allegations could justify this untimely move! Just as they regained some pride vs the Sharks. But wait, I suddenly remember Loffie being sacked days before being humiliated by the British

  • Hannes Truter - 2012-06-22 21:36

    Did they send him a fax!?

  • courtney.baird.71 - 2012-06-23 07:49

    should have dome it a while ago................

  • Mandy - 2012-06-23 07:59

    The players couldn't have chosen a worse time for this mutiny. I am a Stormers supporter, but found myself rooting for the underdogs when the news of the impending relegation broke. Would love to know which players and what "offences" he is being accused of.

  • graham.spencer.564 - 2012-06-23 08:56

    its always hard when you are coaching the bottom team with the left overs. i realy think the team has to look at them selves becauese they can't even play the basics well that most 12 year olds can do in nz. I also wounder if some of those players that are complaining are ones that were out drinking 2 nights before they played the blues. for the ones that saying they only won the currie cup becuase the sharks did'nt have internationerals playing niether did the loins.

  • ockie.barnard.9 - 2012-06-23 09:05

    It looks like the Lions bosses are already making plans to cut on expenditure for next year (Not having the S15 income).... very convenient to get rid of a expensive coach.

      ockie.barnard.9 - 2012-06-23 09:06

      Sorry .... AN expensive coach.

  • denzil.oliver.3 - 2012-06-23 09:37

    You got to love people who judge before they know the facts. Now listen, there is something much bigger here. What was Mitch doing in PE on Friday (SOUTHER KINGS)? His strategy with the boys has changed. There seems to be no game plan. You don’t go from top to bottom just like that. Josh was running clueless on the field. Waiting for calls from the side witch by any rugby standards was the wrong calls. Why did they not want Mitch in the dressing room before the start of the second half between the lions and the sharks? The boys wanted to play their own style of rugby witch was the style that won them the curriebeker. Funny how we gave the Sharks a hiding! Don’t you think? I smell a conspiracy here. Can’t wait for the outcome, it is definitely going to silence the critics.

  • robert.dewar.12 - 2012-06-23 09:38

    The results speak for themselves players are paid a lot of money to perform. The coach is there boss, no they must shut up and start to listen not go crying about how hard the coach is. Lions supporter

  • Jco - 2012-06-23 10:20

    Sad day for Lions rugby!

  • carl.brune - 2012-06-23 11:55

    It shows that there is poor communication between Coach and Captain. Instead of Captain taking on Coach head on, he runs like a CRY BABY to the GLRU. He has no backbone

  • stephan.bester.14 - 2012-06-23 12:18

    Spoiled brats, if they performed on the pitch they could make demands. Highly paid and without any guts. Wish we could have him with the Bulls. It's not his fault that these gutless players are worth nothing, it's their lack of discipline - exactly what they can't handle.

  • fanie.smit.5 - 2012-06-23 13:21

    Shame the players can't take a bit of dicipline.

  • Burtfred - 2012-06-23 13:23

    Is Mitchell gay? Just wondering.

  • louisjven - 2012-06-23 13:31

    It is about time may be to late!!

  • paddy.pereira - 2012-06-23 14:51

    I think the path to the S15 for the Kings is foreordained - the questions to be asked are when they come last in 2013 - will they be relegated and how will it be decided who will go back up in 2014 - the year of the great election !!!!!

  • paddy.pereira - 2012-06-23 14:55

    nhamo.dzenyika - June 22, 2012 at 15:24 - are you sure , cos his bro is a Headmaster in Cape Town and his lighty plays for a prominent school down there .!!!

  • pages:
  • 1