Inquiry begins into Force coach Mitchell - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Inquiry begins into Force coach Mitchell

24/12/2008 03:25:53 PM Comments (0)

Western Force coach John Mitchell has been placed on restricted duties after the Super 14 franchise set up an inquiry into rumours his relationship with players has broken down.

Media speculation in recent weeks has suggested Mitchell's straight talking approach has alienated players, with one report suggesting the former All Blacks boss had already been kept away from training.

The Force have asked retired judge Robert Anderson QC to "undertake certain inquiries of players, coaching staff and management".

They have also consented to a mediation process "between Mr Mitchell and the coaching and support staff at the suggestion of Mr Mitchell's representatives".

Mitchell, who has been in charge of the Force since their first season in 2006, is one year into a four-year deal with the Perth-based side.

Rugby WA released a "clarification statement" on Wednesday in response to the media speculation.

"Whilst Mr Anderson is undertaking his inquiries, Mr Mitchell will remain the head coach of the Western Force but some restrictions have been placed on his activities as head coach in the short term," the statement read.

"These will not interfere with the club's preparation for the 2009 Super 14 season."

The coaching controversy coincides with the recent uncertainty surrounding superstar five-eighth Matt Giteau's future in the west.

Giteau has been unhappy a third-party sponsorship deal with failed fuel additive company Firepower fell through, costing him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Wallaby No.10 was reportedly keen to move back to the Brumbies but the Canberra-based franchise this week ruled out any move before Giteau's deal with the Force expires at the end of 2009.

The Wallaby flyhalf has also received an offer from French club Bayonne worth almost $10 million.

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