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Mitchell remains with Lions despite Sale contract

lionsrugby.co.za, salesharks.com and James Mortimer     01 Dec 2012    

Within an hour of arriving at the Sales High Performance Centre at Carrington this week, he was out coaching the club's players.

He took time out to explain the process leading to his arrival, whilst looking back at his career since leaving Sale FC in 1998.

John started by talking about the initial contact from the modern day successors of the former club, and why he had to return to South Africa to clear his name before returning.

He said, "Well, Dimes sort of gave me an SOS call to see what was happening. At that particular time I was in suspension and had to go through a process. I'm thrilled to have got through that process to be found innocent of all allegations.

"The next thing was to be reinstated in my position and then at that point I mutually agreed with the Golden Lions that they have moved on and emotionally I have moved on. That's what I had to get done. It's taken a lot longer than I would have hoped. It's been six months and five days of a hearing. So it's been an arduous process but I had to get everything cleared so that I could move on. My reputation is still very much intact and also my brand.

While he will be with the Sharks, Mitchell will, with immediate effect, assume the position of technical advisor to the MTN Golden Lions, with assistant coach Johan Ackermann taking over the head coach position.

Mitchell will enter into a one-year consultancy role, where he will use his expertise and experience to provide necessary technical advice to the MTN Golden Lions. He will work to assist the team in their work towards 2014 Super Rugby reinstatement .

GLRU president Kevin de Klerk is pleased with the new arrangement and believes the team will benefit immensely from the new set-up.

“We are looking forward to the future and believe the new agreement with John is the ideal alternative for the Golden Lions,” De Klerk said.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for us to utilise John’s expertise while offering an up-and-coming coach like Johan the chance to deliver and develop.

“We would like to thank John for his contribution to this Union thus far and wish him well for his other endeavours in the future.”

As per the conditions of the new agreement, Mitchell will not consult for any other South African franchise during his consultation tenure at the Golden Lions Rugby Union.

“I am pleased that Kevin de Klerk and GLRU CEO Ruben Moggee have been extremely supportive of my wish to remain on board at the Lions, while allowing me the chance to consider other associations linked to rugby,” said Mitchell.

“I am fully committed to helping the Lions and head coach Johan Ackermann in the rebuilding process. I have unfinished business with the Lions and this new arrangement will enable me to help the team achieve the goals they have set out.”