Mitchell eyeing assistant’s job




Western Force coach John Mitchell on Sunday expressed interest in making a return to the international fray for the first time since he was unceremoniously replaced as All Black coach after the 2003 World Cup.

With all the drama surrounding the appointment of the new Wallaby coach next month, Mitchell said he would be willing to be an assistant coach for the Australian rugby team. But he indicated that he would only take the job under certain conditions.

“Just as long as I’m not required to give up my position at the [Western] Force, I believe I could offer something to the Wallabies,” Mitchell told The Australian newspaper.

The former Waikato captain told reporters that he would definitely avail himself for the assistant coach position if fellow New Zealander Robbie Deans were to be appointed the new Wallaby coach come the end of November.

What is most significant about Mitchell’s announcement is that he has actually coached with Deans at international level before when the latter was the assistant coach of the 2003 All Blacks.

Both men were abruptly and perhaps unfairly removed from their posts after the failed 2003 World Cup campaign and might just relish the opportunity to work together again.

Mitchell is one of just two international coaches in the past decade who have recorded a win record of above 80 percent, with the other being Graham Henry – who himself has endured considerable criticism after his All Blacks crashed out of the 2007 World Cup quarter-final to hosts France.

Mitchell felt his international experience combined with the new ideas of an up-and-coming coach would be the ideal recipe for the Wallabies as the team looks to rebuild after a disastrous World Cup campaign which saw the two-time World Champions bow out to England in the quarter-final.

“It might be helpful for a younger coach to have an assistant who has had experience at the top level before,” explained Mitchell.


365 Digital

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.