Lions coach Mitchell linked to English club Sale

Golden Lions coach and former All Black coach John Mitchell has been linked with a return to his former English Premiership Rugby club Sale Sharks.

Mitchell was suspended by the Golden Lions towards the end of the Super Rugby after the players complained about his coaching methods just as the Western Force players did in Perth when he was head coach there.

Mitchell’s assistants have already left the Golden Lions and his departure seems to be a formality especially since the Lions have been ousted from Super Rugby next year.

All Black Rugby World Cup coach in 2003 Mitchell played for Sale Sharks in the late nineties before becoming Director of Rugby and then England Assistant coach under Clive Woodward.

Mitchell returned to New Zealand after coaching England and was appointed Chiefs Super Rugby coach in 2001 but by the end of the year he had been appointed All Blacks coach.

Mitchell was dropped as All Blacks coach when they failed to win the 2003 Rugby World Cup and came third.

The former number eight, blindside flanker and lock stayed in New Zealand after being dropped by the All Blacks and took charge of Waikato in the NPC for the 2004 and 2005 seasons after which he moved to Perth and was in charge of the Western Force until 2010.

Following the 2010 Super Rugby season Mitchell took over as Golden Lions coach in the Currie Cup but was still appointed Force Super Rugby coach.

However even though he was the victim of a violent robbery at his home in Johannesburg he applied for an early release which the Force gave him and he became Lions coach for Super Rugby and the Currie Cup.

With most of South Africa’s Springboks out of the Currie Cup due to the TriNations and the Rugby World Cup Mitchell led the Golden Lions to their first Currie Cup Championship in 12 years.

Under Mitchell the Lions continued to struggle in Super Rugby and became statistically the worst Super Rugby team of all time and have been replaced by the Southern Kings for the 2013 season.

Mitchell is currently involved in legal action with the Golden Lions and has been suspended for the last three months. In 2010 Mitchell signed a three year contract with the Lions.

Sale Sharks sacked their forwards coach Steve Scott last month after they went through their first three matches without a win and are currently on a six match losing streak.

While Mitchell has been linked with Premiership club it is expected that he will not join Sale Sharks until his situation with the Lions is completed.

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