Mitchell wants more coaching collaboration
Ockert de Villiers, Sport24
Johannesburg - Former Lions coach John Mitchell believes South African coaches will have to start working together in the best interests of the game.
Mitchell said it was about time that the country adopted an approach where the franchise coaches formed a collective where they can share information.
"There certainly has to be a collaboration, a think-tank and I think there needs to be more unity in terms of the head coaches sitting down with the national head coach," Mitchell told Sport24 on Tuesday.
"They should be downloading exactly how they can go about improving their game and that is aligning everything else that supports how you want to play."
Mitchell was asked to weigh in on the growing debate about South Africa’s playing philosophy and the standard of coaching in the country.
"There needs to be more sharing of information and there needs to be a more openness to accept that there are some areas for greater improvement," Mitchell said.
"That actually won’t take that long, as long as there is a strategy that they are prepared to work towards and improving their behaviour."
Mitchell said if other countries could successfully implement this kind of collaboration without compromising a coach’s independence, then there was no reason why it should not work in South Africa.
"There is no reason why we can’t do it as well (in South Africa) and if we are looking for change, we are going to need to change to get better," added Mitchell.
"It is not about following (the international trend), South African rugby has some unique characteristics that others don’t have and they are strengths as well.
"So just imagine if we had the players aligned to a style of rugby that can cope on defence and attack with or without ball.
"How much better are we going to do (in terms of results)?"
The South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) HP Mobi-Unit was launched in 2013 where a contracted a team of specialist coaches to advise Super Rugby franchises, national teams and schools.
Springbok defence guru John McFarland’s work with the Cheetahs, as part of the knowledge-sharing, is said to have played a major role in the Bloemfontein side’s improved defence that year, a year in which they reached the Super Rugby playoffs for the first time.
The HP Mobi-Unit have continued to work with the franchises, but this does not necessarily mean the franchises were singing from the same hymn sheet.
"Maybe it requires someone that is not involved to be put in a position to strategically create the structure of more effective communication so that we can see a change and an evolution of what we are doing," Mitchell said.