Lions keen to poach John Mitchell - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions keen to poach John Mitchell

By Justin Chadwick 11/08/2010 07:24:42 PM Comments (0)

Western Force coach John Mitchell could cut short his time at the Perth-based franchise to lead South Africa's Lions next Super 15 season.

Mitchell is currently in South Africa coaching the Lions in their Currie Cup campaign but has previously insisted he would return to Perth to see out the final year of his contract with the Force.

Richard Graham is locked in to take over at the Force in 2012 but he may be thrust into the head role a year early, with Lions president Kevin de Klerk openly admitting his bid to secure Mitchell in time for next season.

"We are negotiating with John to remain at the Lions," Lions president Kevin De Klerk told African media organisation Newstime.

"But this depends on whether there is a way out of his contract and if the Western Force will release him.

"If we are able to retain his services it would be a bonus because he is a good coach and it would assist us in recruiting a quality group of players to strengthen the union.

"I can't speak for him, but it looks as though he is enjoying his time at the Lions.

"The feedback I have received from the players about their experiences of working with John has been very positive.

"I am over the moon with what he has done in the little time that he has been here."

Despite the strong comments from de Klerk, the Force remain none the wiser as to Mitchell's future.

"I have spoken to John Mitchell in Johannesburg and he has advised me that no formal negotiations have taken place with the Lions in regards to their head coaching position for the 2011 Super rugby season," Force chief executive Vern Reid said.

"At this point we have not had contact with the Lions or their president about their intentions."

Mitchell's management company also confirmed no formal offer had been tabled.

"The club (Lions) has indicated to us that it would be very keen to include John in its broader plans further down the track but nothing more than that," the statement read.

"The fact that John has been very well received by the Lions as consultant coach during the current Currie Cup competition has fuelled speculation.

"There is no question that the door would be open for further discussion with the Lions, but at this point there has been no offer made by the organisation to John or to us."

Former All Blacks five-eighth Carlos Spencer, who is now the Lions' backline coach and a bit-time player there, said the club must hang on to Mitchell.

"They should definitely try (to keep Mitchell)," Spencer told South African website Sport24.

"There is definitely a lot of appreciation for what he has done for the team and there has been a lot of progress.

"It will be stupid to want to change in the future and the side will benefit if he can stay on."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news