Mitchell wants his Lions bosses to change

While his players have learnt that he will not tolerate mediocrity on or off the field, Lions coach John Mitchell on Thursday stressed that the union’s management will have to follow the team’s example in becoming unified in their decision making.

“The fact that we were able to get away and unify,” Mitchell said when asked what the most important aspect of their tour was.

“If the team can go away and be unified, the big challenge for the organisation is for the people above us to become unified and adopt the same vision, energy and enthusiasm that is needed to become the best union in South Africa.

“Clearly it can be done and the boys on the trip certainly unified in a big way which I certainly thought was refreshing and beneficial to us.”

The Johannesburg side this week returned from their most successful Super Rugby tour of Australia and New Zealand where they bagged victories in each of the countries.

They started with a 29-20 win over the Brumbies before doing their countrymen a huge favour by beating the Highlanders 26-22.

Their next assignment is against the Sharks at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday in what will be their final match of the competition.

The Lions will enjoy their second bye in the final week.

Looking ahead at the contest Mitchell again took a zero tolerance approach by demoting flyhalf Elton Jantjies to the bench for not abiding to team rules.

“Basically Elton broke team protocol while we were away so he has to face the consequence,” said Mitchell.

“We as a leadership group made a decision over that so that is the reason why Butch (James) goes to 10.

“It is purely within the team and actually has more to do with punctuality as he missed an appointment.”

Another drastic change to the team sees former Leopards scrum-half Michael Bondesio earning a place in the match 22 ahead of Rory Kockott.

Mitchell confirmed that the former Sharks player will be pursuing a career overseas.

“Rory’s future is in France, so I thought it was important that Michael Bondesio gets experience at Super Rugby before we close this campaign –baring in mind that he’s definitely our future.”

As far as the future of the union is concerned, the former New Zealand head coach said that he is pleased with the progress that is being made at junior level.

“The junior model is starting to show some really good signs,” he said.

“We’ve bought some good youth and Nico Serfontein and his staff are doing a very good job there at the moment.”

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