Mitchell: I was generic in handling personalities

2018-11-01 10:30
John Mitchell
John Mitchell (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - England defence coach John Mitchell says he has matured as a coach over the years.

The New Zealander is back in the England camp 18 years after his first stint as the team’s forwards coach.

Since, then Mitchell has coached teams like the Chiefs, All Blacks, Western Force, Lions, Sale Sharks, USA Eagles and the Bulls.

Not all of his previous jobs have ended in amicable fashion and he admitted as much in an interview with England Rugby’s official website in Portugal this week.

England held a training camp there in preparation for this Saturday’s Test against the Springboks at Twickenham.

“Twenty years ago I certainly fell into the trap of being generic in the way I handled personalities. I’d be the first to acknowledge that I could have done things differently,” Mitchell admitted.

“I wouldn’t say I’m now relaxed about everything but you don’t last if you don’t evolve and you don’t learn. It would have been nice to have the tools I have now back then but life isn’t like that.”

Mitchell now has the task of plugging an England defence which leaked nine tries in three Tests against South Africa in June.

Factor in the change in tackle law, which has led to red cards across Europe as players struggle to adapt to an interpretation introduced mid-season, and the Kiwi has his work cut out.

“From a coaching and a playing point of view we have to acknowledge that we are going to have to change our behaviour in order to make the adjustment. I already have a couple of things in mind,” Mitchell said.

The England team will be named on Thursday, with Saturday’s Test scheduled for 17:00 (SA time).

Read more on:    england  |  john mitchell  |  rugby


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Saturday, 04 July 2020
South Africa v Scotland, Cape Town 17:05
Saturday, 11 July 2020
South Africa v Scotland, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17:05
Saturday, 18 July 2020
South Africa v Georgia, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 17:05
Saturday, 08 August 2020
South Africa v Argentina, Emirates Airline Park 14:00
Saturday, 15 August 2020
Argentina v South Africa, Estadio Bicentenario 21:45
Saturday, 29 August 2020
Australia v South Africa, Optus Stadium 14:00

Debate rages! Who is the greatest ever Springbok hooker ... John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis or someone else perhaps?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.