Former All Blacks coach joins England backroom team

England have appointed John Mitchell as their defence coach until the end of the next World Cup.

Mitchell has been recruited from his role with Super Rugby outfit the Bulls and he will begin work with Eddie Jones and England this month ahead of the Autumn International games which England have, they face difficult games against southern hemisphere sides South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, while they will also take on Japan. Mitchell a former head coach of the All Black’s fills the role which was vacated by Paul Gustard in June who left Eddie Jones’ backroom team to pursue a job with the Harlequins as their head coach.

RTE Sport report that a fee in the region of £200,000 was paid to the Bulls in regards to compensation, in further backroom team news England will have Scott Wisemantel as attack coach once again. Indeed the English RFU tried to poach Andy Farrell who is involved with the same role for Joe Schmidt and Ireland but Farrell said he was finishing out his contract at the very least. Speaking on the appointment of Mitchell as defence coach, England boss Eddie Jones said “Defence is a key pillar of our game and John is an experienced coach”. He went on to say further “He has coached the All Black’s, USA Rugby and a number of Super Rugby sides so he will bring a wealth of experience and add to the coaching mix we have here”.

Mitchell is no stranger to English soil though, he was assistant coach to Clive Woodward from 1997 to 2000. He has also worked at English Gallagher Premiership sides Wasps and Sale Sharks. He then took up the All Black’s job in 2001 and went on to oversee 23 wins from 28 games. His last game in charge was a defeat in the semi final of the World Cup in 2003 3. Speaking about his new role Mitchell said “This is an exciting opportunity to work with England Rugby and support Eddie Jones as Head coach”. He went on to say further “I will be joining an elite high performance programme, Test team and coaching group where I will use all my experience and focus to bring the necessary clarity and confidence to all players from a defensive perspective”.


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