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Former Lions coach John Mitchell says that personal vendettas against him in South Africa forced him to move away and take a job in America.
Mitchell has been appointed as coach of the US Eagles after he missed out on the Stormers job which opened up when Eddie Jones left for England.
The former All Black coach was expected to be named Stormers coach late last year after reports surfaced saying that he was offered the job before Jones but declined due to the length of the contract.
It is understood that Mitchell was close to being appointed by the Stormers but then they named Robbie Fleck was appointed on an interim basis.
A number of news agencies suggested that Mitchell had missed out on the Stormers position as rugby bosses in SA had been reminded how his terms in Perth with the Force and Johannesburg ended with rumours players’ dissatisfaction in his coaching style.
Speaking to RadioSport in New Zealand Mitchell accused SA Rugby boss Oregan Hoskins and Lions boss Kevin de Klerk of having a vendetta against him so he left for America.
Mitchell pointed out that despite the rumours he had never been charged with any wrongdoing at the Force or the Lions.
“At the end of the day I’ve never been charged with any of the allegations,” said Mitchell.
“It’s perception only. I’ve had to deal with a fair bit of politics in my time, but I’m going into an environment where there is stability above me.
“The Lions situation was orchestrated. I was basically cleared of all 28 allegations and clearly Oregan Hoskins and Kevin de Klerk have still got a vendetta against me here in South Africa. So, my expertise isn’t warranted.”
“This opportunity (the Eagles) in many ways is the better of the opportunities, because in many ways in the process of the Stormers it became very evident to me that I think the process saved me.”
Speaking in response to Mitchell’s allegations De Klerk denied that he any involvement in him missing out on the job in Cape Town.
“I certainly did not close that (Stormers) door for him, he closed it for himself,” he told Rugby365.
“He had issues in New Zealand, he had issues in Perth and he had issues with us (the Lions). He even made a turn in England (with Sale Sharks).
“He must go do his thing there (in America) and see how well he does.”
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