Suspended Lions coach John Mitchell will stay in South Africa regardless of the outcome of his disciplinary hearing.
Mitchell was suspended in June when Lions players complained to management about his coaching style. The Lions have postponed his disciplinary hearing several times, but it is likely that Mitchell and the Lions will part ways.
Speaking to New Zealand’s Radio Sport, the former All Blacks coach said that he had no intention of returning to his home country just yet. He may give coaching a break, but Mitchell hopes to continue working in South Africa.
‘I really enjoy South Africa. I’ve been coaching professionally now for 18 years and it might be time to do a bit of media work and impart my knowledge on to other coaches and then pick the right place to go into,’ he said.
Mitchell added that he had learned a lot from his experiences at both the Western Force and the Lions. Both tenures were cut short prematurely.
‘Since the All Blacks I’ve been in two extremely different jobs, I guess. I developed a new club [Western Force] in Australia and gone to a place which was obviously very negative and toxic when I arrived and obviously needed a rebuild… there’s a learning [there], the next job I go into will have to a have a very good structure as opposed to trying to, I guess, micro-manage in an organisation which needs a lot of help.’
Mitchell also told Radio Sport that he has a good case against the Lions.
‘Unfortunately I’m in a situation that’s uncontrollable. The Lions are obviously in a very difficult situation in professional rugby, and I’ve been put in this position and ultimately that’s my responsibility.
‘The truth always comes out. I’m in a very good position, I’ve just got to trust the process.’