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John Mitchell

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd have named New Zealander John Mitchell as the new Executive of Rugby at the franchise.

Mitchell, currently in charge of the United States Eagles, will assume the role in Pretoria in July – following the Eagles’ June Tests and World Cup 2019 qualifying matches.

Nollis Marais will continue a head coach of the Bulls through to the end of the Super Rugby season and will also coach the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup.

The former All Black, Western Force and Emirates Lions coach said he feels “privileged” and will look to implement the same strong team culture he introduced within the Eagles player pool.

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John Mitchell

John Mitchell

John Mitchell appears the firm favourite to become the DHL Stormers head coach, after meeting with Western Province rugby bosses on Tuesday.

According to reports, Mitchell was in the Mother City to discuss details of what is believed to be a 4-year deal with the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) and the Stormers.

The former All Blacks, Western Force and Golden Lions coach earlier this year turned down a job offer from the DHL Stormers.

In June, Mitchell said: “An approach was made to me and there were negotiations, but unfortunately Gert Smal is only contracted as Western Province Director of Rugby for another 2 years, so there were no guarantees for me beyond that period.

“Had I been offered a 4-year deal, it would have been different. But I have travelled around the world a lot to pursue my career as a coach and didn’t want to uproot my family again for the promise of just 2 years. I didn’t want to commute either, as I believe you have to be fully immersed in a culture to be effective as a coach.”

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John Mitchell

John Mitchell

It looks like the DHL Stormers should soon be in position to unveil their new coach to replace England bound Eddie Jones, with John Mitchell reportedly having met with Western Province officials in Cape Town late on Tuesday.

The former All Black coach is the only person who fits the requirements laid out last week by WP director of rugby Gert Smal last week – namely that the new coach preferably have an overseas slant to his coaching, have coached international rugby, have coached Super Rugby for at least seven seasons and have experience and knowledge of the South African rugby culture.

When asked about the meeting on Wednesday morning, all Mitchell could say was that he’d had fruitful discussions and that WP had been very professional in the way they had formulated their approach. However Mitchell was not at liberty to divulge further details and he has not signed on the dotted line, so negotiations appear to be ongoing.

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John Mitchell

John Mitchell

With Eddie Jones now in London and appointed as the new England coach, the DHL Stormers director of rugby Gert Smal needs to do what he failed to do earlier in the year by making John Mitchell a serious offer.

The former All Black coach was targeted by the Stormers earlier in the year, and the approach to him preceded that made to former Sharks coach and fellow Kiwi John Plumtree. However, Mitchell was only offered a 2 year deal and Mitchell said at the time that the figures didn’t turn his head either.

Mitchell, who has become a successful chief executive in the business world over the past 2 years, said he would have needed a longer contract, more like 4 years, in order to be interested. The negotiations broke down after he communicated that view to Smal.

Jones though was offered a 3 year contract with the option of a year extension, which effectively meant 4 years, so it is difficult to see any reason now why Smal can’t do the same for Mitchell, particularly as the pay-out from the RFU to Western Province should be a substantial one.

With Jones out of the picture, Mitchell says he would definitely be interested in working as Stormers head coach under Smal were the union to make him a realistic offer.

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John Mitchell

John Mitchell

Former Lions, Western Force and All Blacks coach John Mitchell believes South Africa’s obsession with size is causing rugby players to start doping as early as schoolboy level.

Mitchell, via a column for Vodacom Rugby, has expressed his concern for what he fears is a growing trend in the modern game, with South Africa not excluded.

“In South Africa, doping is an issue that starts at schoolboy level. The game is taken very seriously and players are often put under pressure to perform from parents and coaches alike,” Mitchell wrote.

“Fundamentally, the problem in South Africa is that so much emphasis is placed on the size of players. The perception in this country is that you have to be big in order to become a professional rugby player – it’s no wonder schoolboys want to bulk up.

“Having worked with South African players across all age-group levels, I have found that there’s more of a focus on stationary weight training and getting into a gym than conditioning and basic fundamentals such as catch and pass, which is practiced in New Zealand.”

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SpringboksThe positons of the Springbok coaching and management team for the 2016 season and beyond will be reviewed by the Executive Council (Exco) of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), SARU announced on Monday.

Jurie Roux, the chief executive officer of SARU, said that the contracts of all of the national team’s coaching, medical and logistical staff expire at the end of the year.

“The Executive Council (Exco) has the power to appoint management and coaching staff with the exception of the position of the Springbok coach, which is ultimately decided by the General Council of SARU,” said Roux.

“That body meets on 4 December when the positon of the Springbok coach for 2016 will be on the agenda. Once all affected individuals have been notified of any decisions a public announcement will be made, which is not expected before 5 December.

“We realise the great public interest in the subject and this is easily one of the most important decisions we take as an organisation. Supporters will understand therefore that we have many factors to consider before any announcements can be made. Those deliberations cannot take place in public out of respect for individuals and our governance structures.”

Media are advised that SARU will make no further comment on the process until any announcements have been made.

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Mitch: The Real Story

Mitch: The Real Story

The coaching merry-go-round at the Sharks may have contributed significantly to the drain on the franchise’s financial resources.

This, at least, is the view of John Mitchell, in his recently released autobiography – Mitch: The Real Story.

The former All Black, England assistant, Western Force and Lions coach – in an exclusive interview with rugby365 – explained why he said in his book that he “strongly suspect” the Sharks are running out of money.

High-profile figures like Brendan Venter (now back in an advisory capacity again) and World Cup-winner Jake White have come and gone in quick succession in recent years. They also had to pay John Plumtree, when the New Zealander was shown the exit door before his contract had run its full term.

The most recent acquisition is another former member of a Springbok coach panel, Gary Gold – who will take over as a Director of Rugby in January.

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John Mitchell

John Mitchell

South Africa meet England for the first time in two years in a suddenly critical Test match at Twickenham on Saturday … but respected New Zealand-born critic and coach John Mitchell advocates more regular, guaranteed annual clashes between the two in a reworked Six Nations.

The Springboks tackle these old enemies while reeling to some extent from a slightly unexpected 29-15 defeat to Ireland in Dublin in the first game of their four-match northern hemisphere agenda, whilst the hosts also enter the fixture on the back foot having been beaten at home by the world champion All Blacks rather more convincingly than the 24-21 score-line suggests.

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks are expected to name their new Super Rugby coach and successor to Jake White within the next two weeks.

White left the Sharks in mysterious circumstances last month with reports indicating there was growing discord between himself and management, as well as with the players.

Brad Mac­Leod-Henderson took charge of the Cell C Sharks during the Currie Cup, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be the head coach during Super Rugby.

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John Mitchell

John Mitchell believes the All Blacks will have too many attacking weapons for the Springboks

John Mitchell holds concerns for the Springboks’ World Cup prospects and doesn’t believe they have the attacking threats to upset the All Blacks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

After four years in South Africa, following his departure as All Blacks coach after the semifinal exit at the 2003 World Cup, Mitchell is well placed to assess the country’s changing landscape.

His main worry is the lack of youth being promoted by the Boks.

With about 250 South Africans now playing rugby overseas – the equivalent of six professional teams – Mitchell says the next generation are suffering through a lack of faith from Boks coach Heyneke Meyer, who has instead turned to aging veterans Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger.

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Derick Minnie

“Cheers vir eers!” Derick Minnie op pad vorentoe Saterdag teen die Bloubulle op Ellispark.

Niemand wil dit hard sê nie, maar almal weet dit: Suid-Afrikaanse rugby is in die #2%$.

Vir diegene wat onlangs uit ’n diep slaap uit ontwaak het, hier is die feite: Net een Suid-Afrikaanse span kon dit tot in ’n Super Rugby semi-finaal maak. En daar het hulle ook in die pomp geduik. Die ander klomp – die Bulle, Stormers, Leeus en Cheetahs het redelik swak gedoen.

Hoe kan ’n land soos Suid-Afrika, wat meer spelers as Nieu-Seeland en Australië saam het, so sleg uit die bus uit bliksem?

Om daardie vraag te beantwoord, moet ons teruggaan tot ons terugkeer tot internasionale rugby in 1992.

Dan sal ons sien dat ons intussen nooit pasaangeërs was nie. Nie met taktiek nie en nie met afrigting nie.

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John MitchellJohn Mitchell says that it is time to put his ego aside as he starts a new chapter of his coaching career with UKZN in the Varsity Shield.

The former All Blacks coach has settled in Durban and said that although it is a significant step down from jobs he has held in the past, the decision to take the position was an easy one.

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The latest news regarding Player Movements, the appointment of coaches and player movement miths set straight.

Some players are definately moving, some are extending their stay, some refute rumours of possible movement, whilst on the coaching side of things the John Mitchell saga carries on. The Crusaders also appoint 2 vital Assistant coaches for 2013.

You will find the news, item by item below:

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The Official Media Release of the Golden Lions Rugby Union, reads as follows regarding former head coach, John Mitchell, who has been redeployed as a technical advisor to the Union, and Johan Ackermann has been appointed as head coach. I hope this long and drawn out saga has finally been resloved and the Lions can concentrate on the Lions Challenge and Currie Cup in their quest to regain Super Rugby status.

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The disciplinary hearing into allegations of misconduct against the Lions’ suspended coach John Mitchell has been postponed until next week, Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) president Kevin de Klerk said on Tuesday.

“It was postponed until next week after the chairperson of the hearing had taken ill,” De Klerk said.

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So, in a year where the SA Super Rugby teams have so much to win, and so very much to lose should they have a nightmare season, the two perrenial bottom dwellers of the South African teams square up in the first round of games.

The Lions are riding on the crest of the Currie Cup wave, whilst the Cheetahs will take great heart from some truly stellar performances during the 2011 Super Rugby campaign.

Lets take a look at what we can expect in this the first CAT FIGHT of the season, as well as a look at the player – player match ups.

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In the latest edition of the Lions’ contenders we look at the men that dictate the flow of the game once the hard wok has been done by the big men up front – the Scrumhalves.

Scrumhalves are not the biggest players in any squad, by any means, but often the nuggiest and most skillful of the whole bunch.

They often talk too much as well!

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In todays edition of the Lions Super Rugby contenders we look at the Rugby equivalent of the hyena and jackal, the Loose Frowards.

The men who have to get low down and dirty, and win the ball wherever it’s available, but mostly on the ground.

I’ll kick off with the stalwarts of the 2011 season.

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In this the 3rd instalment of the Lions contenders, we look at the big men who perform in the engine room of the forward pack, the lock forwards.

Providing the grunt in the heart of the scrum, as well as the means to win ball in the line-outs, this group of BIG men are responsible for ensuring a continuous supply of quality first phase ball for the team.

Let’s open with the players who did the hard yards in last years campaign.

The next instalment will look at the ever improving and exciting loose forwards.

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