Mitchell challenges top brass

2011-06-09 19:53

Johannesburg - While his players have learnt that he will not tolerate mediocrity on or off the field, Lions coach John Mitchell on Thursday stressed that the union's management will have to follow the team's example in becoming unified in their decision making.

"The fact that we were able to get away and unify," Mitchell said when asked what the most important aspect of their tour was.

"If the team can go away and be unified, the big challenge for the organisation is for the people above us to become unified and adopt the same vision, energy and enthusiasm that is needed to become the best union in South Africa.

"Clearly it can be done and the boys on the trip certainly unified in a big way which I certainly thought was refreshing and beneficial to us."

The Johannesburg side this week returned from their most successful Super Rugby tour of Australia and New Zealand where they bagged victories in each of the countries.

They started with a 29-20 win over the Brumbies before doing their countrymen a huge favour by beating the Highlanders 26-22.

Their next assignment is against the Sharks at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday in what will be their final match of the competition.

The Lions will enjoy their second bye in the final week.

Looking ahead at the contest Mitchell again took a zero tolerance approach by demoting flyhalf Elton Jantjies to the bench for not abiding to team rules.

"Basically Elton broke team protocol while we were away so he has to face the consequence," said Mitchell.

"We as a leadership group made a decision over that so that is the reason why Butch (James) goes to 10.

"It is purely within the team and actually has more to do with punctuality as he missed an appointment."

As far as the future of the union is concerned, the former New Zealand head coach said that he is pleased with the progress that is being made at junior level.

"The junior model is starting to show some really good signs," he said.

"We've bought some good youth and Nico Serfontein and his staff are doing a very good job there at the moment."


  • Frikkie - 2011-06-09 20:44


      WPBEFONK - 2011-06-10 07:43

      Weekend predictions(SA games only): Lions to win by 7 Stormers to win by MORE than 12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ryan - 2011-06-09 20:49

    I still think Eugene Eloff was fired a year to early.

      WPBEFONK - 2011-06-10 07:43

      I agree, but this is my predictions for this weekend(SA derbies only): Lions by 7 Stormers to win by MORE than 12!!!!!!

  • Renny - 2011-06-09 21:01

    Great move. Restore the law & order and then they'll be able to beat any team. Mitchell has done wonders with a team that suffered major losses in the past,well done.

  • RobinHood - 2011-06-09 21:56

    say goodbye to this man - he spoke his mind

      Claude - 2011-06-10 07:17

      If the reporting on what was said is accurate then although he spoke his mind it was done with some finesse. People have to have pretty large egos to take offense at a call for unity.

      RobinHood - 2011-06-10 07:28

      @Claude - I agree - but let's wait and see...

      Johan van Zyl - 2011-06-10 07:50

      @RobinHood - You know that Robin Hood was one of the worst criminals ever. Stealing from the Have's to give to the HaveNot's who can't do for themselves. Sound just like affirmative action, doesn't it...

  • Nobody - 2011-06-09 22:46

    It will be cool to see the lions come back again. They have been missed. They are playing some really entertaining rugby lately. The southern kings are going to come knocking soon and the ring is getting mighty small... sharkboy

  • Willis Blue - 2011-06-10 00:12

    It is good, Elton has potential, but he needs to learn how to act properly on and off the field. Nothing wrong with firm discipline. Well done

      WPBEFONK - 2011-06-10 07:46

      I agree. Lions by 7 and Stormers by more than 12. Both these 2 teams will win by the indicated margin!!!!!!!!!!!!

      J.B - 2011-06-10 08:18

      WPBEFOK! P!ss off already

  • WPBEFONK - 2011-06-10 07:42

    I think the Lions must stick with SA coaches, JM is a good and well known coach but let him go back to NZ. We've got talent in SA, but having said that, it is CRUNCH TIME. The Venue is Newlands Cape Town, prediction, Stormers by MORE than 12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      J.B - 2011-06-10 08:19

      You are an idiot!

      sportsmadwil - 2011-06-10 08:30

      Clearly the electric spinach emitted from your Stormer mad brain is a problem. JM is in fact a great coach. This will be evident in years to come, the stormers with all theur glitz,glamour and money spending antics have still not lifted a trophy in how long? The lions will win this weekend and yes , the Bulls will beat the Stormers. Fact............. The Stormers will also remain trophy less this year.

  • Hannes van der Linde - 2011-06-10 08:02

    Honestly.... this scares me.

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