Mitchell's Bulls exit for England job a 'done deal'

    2018-08-06 10:49

    Cape Town - It’s taken a full three months, but it appears England have a new defence coach.

    Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell will return to the England fold next month, with his departure from the Bulls being labelled a ‘done deal’.

    Mitchell was previously the England forwards coach between 1997 and 2000 under Sir Clive Woodward.

    According to the Rugby365 website, the Blue Bulls Company (BBC) is already ‘shopping around’ for a new Super Rugby coach as England are reported to want Mitchell to report for duty as early as next month as they prepare for massive end of year Tests against both the Springboks and All Blacks.

    England coach Eddie Jones is looking for a new defence coach, after Paul Gustard left for Harlequins following the June Test series against the Springboks.

    While the Rugby Football Union has remained mum on reports that Mitchell, the current Blue Bulls’ Executive of Rugby, will replace Gustard, the BBC has confirmed that ‘interest has been shown’ in the New Zealander’s services.

    The Blue Bulls were quick to remind everyone that Mitchell's contract at the Bulls only ends on October 31, 2019, meaning the RFU would have to pay a massive ‘buy-out fee’ to the Pretoria union.

    According to reports, calls have already gone out to the agents of some of South Africa’s leading coaches, with a source close to the franchise saying those calls would not have gone out if Mitchell was not departing.

    Among the leading candidates are rumoured to be long-time Bulls servants and former Springbok legends Fourie du Preez and Victor Matfield.

    Other names on the ‘wanted’ list include Jimmy Stonehouse and John Dobson.

    Stonehouse has close links with the Bulls from his days as a teacher at Hoërskool Waterkloof and the Bulls Craven Week team. He has just returned from a three-year stint at the Brave Lupus in Japan.

    Dobson, a born-and-bred Capetonian, is currently the coach of the defending champion WP Currie Cup team.

    The news of Mitchell's impending departure will do nothing to sway the belief in Mitchell's detractors who've questioned his loyalty to any particular union/role over the years.

    READ: Why the unhealthy obsession with John Mitchell?

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