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The Golden Lions Rugby Union have suspended their head coach John Mitchell.

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This follows the revelation 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 treats players.

De Klerk, in an exclusive interview with this website, confirmed that Mitchell has been suspended with immediate affect.

“The nature of the [players'] complaints is so serious that we have suspended him [Mitchell], pending further investigation,” De Klerk said.

De Klerk would not elaborate on the nature of the players’ complaints, saying that the decision was “not taken lightly”.

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

The Lions’ three remaining fixtures this season will see them take on the Stormers at Newlands, the Rebels in Johannesburg and the Bulls in Pretoria.

Despite taking the Lions to their first Currie Cup title in 12 years, when they beat a star-studded Sharks team in last year’s Final in Johannesburg, the players feel aggrieved at Mitchell’s behaviour.

The Lions mentor recently told this website that he wants to see out his contract, which runs to the end of 2013, with the Johannesburg-based franchise.

However, reports of a player revolt were confirmed on Friday.

The former All Black coach faced a similar revolt before his departure from the Western Force in Perth, where he was ‘removed’ from the day-to-day coaching for a short while and later allowed to continue under ‘strict supervision’ from his assistants and senior players.

Mitchell, despite his 82 percent success rate and taking the All Blacks to the 2003 World Cup semifinal, was axed as New Zealand’s national.

Later reports emerged of player discontent.

Apart from the apparent fall-out with the coach, there is also great uncertainty among players over the future of the union in Super Rugby.

The Lions, the lowest ranked South African team and sitting 14th on the global table of 15 teams, remain the ‘front-runners’ to be eliminated if the Southern Kings enter Super Rugby in 2013.

And Lions captain Joshua Strauss, speaking to this website in an exclusive interview, admitted that some players were “talking to their agents”.

7 Responses to It never rains, but but it pours – Lions are proof of that – Mitchell suspended!

  • 1

    Phweeeeeew!

    Man, the Poor Lions!

    Is it a case of the players genuinely revolting against Mitchell… or are they just looking for escape from their own dismal performances in the season?

    Time will tell, I suppose.

    Look, John Mitchell is a difficult bugger to get along with… difficult to communicate with… and he’s got an extremely short fuse, that we all know from experience.

  • 2

    I think it must be a bit of both, Mitchells reputation precedes him, but they all seemed very happy when they won the Cup last year.

    I think Mitchel shouldcome done here and get the brokebacks to man up a bit!

  • 3

    2 @ Just For Kicks:
    A personality like Mitchell has, always walks a tightrope… when things are fine, the people say the coach is a good diciplinarian and is bashing the team back into shape…

    When things don’t go your team’s way, the easy scapegoat is the coach with the difficult personality….

    Bugger if you do and bugger if you don’t….

  • 4

    Haak haak, Lions is gedaan!

    Die enigste ding by daai Unie wat nog kon werk is Mitchell. Oh well, daar gaan hy…

  • 5

    I read somewhere that the players were unhappy about his training methods, specially when they lost a game. Seems llike he penalised the team by giving them a sort of “op-fok” when they lost. Players feel this is no way to be treated

  • 6

    Sien op WTR blog JM is nou geskors finaal, dink die saak moet baie ernstig wees (‘serious allegations’), jy skors nie iemand bloot omdat hy te streng is nie.

    As dit wel is dat die spelers bang is vir dissipline, dan sal dit ‘n groot jammer wees.

    Manne raak te sag, g’n wonder hul begin in pienk truie speel nie, eish !

  • 7

    Selfde het gebeur by die Western Force – dat Lions Management hom in die eerste plek aangestel is was swak. Mind you alles wat hul doen is swak, tyd dat hulle maar gaan

    He has a typical Kamp Staldraad attitude and humiliates his own players in the media when he discusses team selections – never give a player and/or the team time to settle and learn from mistakes – no frikkin wonder they are a permanent shambles- may he go back to NZ and go scream at a heard of sheep or something


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