John Mitchell (rugby player)
|John Mitchell, coaching the Western Force|
|Full name||John Eric Paul Mitchell|
|Date of birth||23 March 1964|
|Place of birth||Hawera, New Zealand|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||108 kg (17 st 0 lb)|
|Rugby union career|
|Years||Club / team|
| 2002 – 2003
2005 – 2010
| New Zealand|
|Rugby union career|
John Eric Paul Mitchell, (born 23 March 1964) is a former rugby union player and former coach for the New Zealand All Blacks. Mitchell's rugby career blossomed with the Fraser-Tech club after he moved from King Country in 1984 and was soon elected Waikato Colts captain. He is currently the coach of the Golden Lions, having been released as coach of the Western Force. He then took up coaching the Lions in the 2011 Super Rugby competition. After two seasons with the Lions, Mitchell then accepted a position as the Director of Rugby at Sale Rugby Club in the UK towards the end of 2012.
Born 23 March 1964 in Hawera, New Zealand, Mitchell was a pupil at Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth when he made the first XV; he was a member of the NZ secondary schools basketball team from 1981–83. He represented NZ Juniors in basketball in 1982–83, but then decided to concentrate on rugby.
He made his Waikato senior debut in 1985 and played at number eight, blindside flanker and lock before he became firmly established at number eight. Equal top scorer in first division rugby in 1989–90, he thus scored more tries over these seasons than any other NZ first division player.
Mitchell was given the Waikato captaincy in 1989. In 1990, because of a broken leg, he could only play half the games. He was reappointed captain in 1991 and led magnificently from that time on until his retirement just prior to the start of the 1995 season. He captained the side a record 86 times. Overall he played 134 games for Waikato and scored 67 tries. In the off season, Mitchell played club rugby in France and Ireland.
Mitchell coached in England, including a stint as England's assistant coach. He was appointed coach of the Chiefs' Super 12 side for 2001, and on 3 October 2001 was appointed as All Black coach through to the 2003 World Cup.
The All Blacks disappointing results in the 2003 World Cup played a part in Mitchell not regaining the All Blacks coaching position when the NZRFU called for candidates for the position. Mitchell controversially dropped Christian Cullen from the All Blacks despite unquestionable form in the Super 12 and only at the age of 27. For this reason and many others Mitchell is not held in high regard by the NZ Rugby public.Mitchell has since taken up the position of the Waikato NPC coach, which he held for the 2004 season, and in mid-2005 was successful in taking up the role of coach for the Australian expansion side, The Western Force, for the 2006 Super 14 competition. In March 2010, Mitchell announced that he would step down as coach of the Force once his contract expires at the end of the 2011 season.
At the end of 2010 the Golden Lions finished sixth out of eight teams on the Currie Cup log.
On 29 October 2011 it was Kiwi against Kiwi in the 2011 Currie Cup final when Mitchell's Golden Lions hosted a star-studded The Sharks rugby team under fellow Kiwi John Plumtree in Johannesburg. The Natal Sharks team included the full Springbok front row as well as seven more Springboks.
On 22 June 2012, he was suspended after complaints from Lions players regarding the manner in which they were treated by Mitchell. In November, he was found not guilty of all charges against him and reinstated as Lions head coach. However, a few days later, he quit as coach to take over as a technical adviser at the Lions.
|All Blacks coach
| Succeeded by|