Micthell to stay with the Force for 4 years




Emirates Western Force Head Coach John Mitchell has re-signed with the Perth-based Investec Super 14 team for a further four years.

The former All Black and All Blacks Head Coach joined the Emirates Western Force in March 2005 on a three-year deal.

The new contract will see the 43 year old Mitchell continue as Head Coach of the Force until June 2011.

RugbyWA Chairman Geoff Stooke said Mitchell had played an instrumental part in the team’s transition from a concept to competitive force in the Super 14 competition, and he was thrilled an agreement had been reached.

He said Mitchell was a highly regarded coach who brought an eye for detail and a brand of football West Australians could be proud of.

‘John has done a fantastic job bringing together a squad of players from all over Australia and shaping them into a team that, on its day, can match the best,’ he said.

‘In little more than two seasons, we’ve gone from a blank sheet of paper to being in contention for the semi-finals. The growth has been significant and there’s more to come.’

‘John has also been a wonderful ambassador for the team and for rugby in WA.’

RugbyWA Chief Executive Peter O’Meara described Mitchell as not only a great coach but also the face of rugby in the west.

‘John is recognized around the rugby world, and players appreciate that if they want to improve their game, he’s the bloke who can help them do it,’ he said.

‘We are thrilled John has decided to continue his great work in building the Emirates Western Force into a Super 14 benchmark.’

Mitchell said he was humbled by RugbyWA’s desire for him to remain at the coaching helm and to build on the foundations laid over the past two seasons.

‘One of the great things about this organization is that it recognizes what we are trying to do and supports us. There is a trust there that is refreshing, and I am very pleased RugbyWA wants us to continue with our efforts,’ he said.

‘And as a foundation member of the Emirates Western Force, well, it gets in your blood. I’m proud to be an adopted West Aussie!’

Mitchell said he was delighted he’d been able to re-commit well in advance of the 2008 season, giving the players, coaching staff and management certainty before the close of the 2007 season and ensuring it would not be a distraction.

He said while he was pleased at the Force’s progress, there was still plenty of work to do to get the team in a position to successfully contest a final.

‘Our aim in year one was to be competitive; in year two, it was improvement and growth, and I think we’ve achieved both those aims,’ he said.

‘While I’m disappointed at how we fell away a little on the New Zealand road-trip ‘ and I take full responsibility for that ‘ I believe we made good progress this season. But we need to get better. We need to get tougher.’

‘I believe the benefits of having largely the same playing group and improving the servicing of that group, individually and collectively, over the next few years will allow us to grow and contest the finals.’

Mitchell said his ongoing goals were for the Force’s continual improvement and sustainable success, and while the team had made big physical and mental gains, it was still in its infancy compared to its competitors.

‘After two seasons, we’ve played in all the environments. We’ve won at home, and in South Africa including that pressure-cooker Loftus Versfeld. But we’ve yet to do well in New Zealand and that’s a bridge we have to cross,’ he said.

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