Lions, Mitchell find common ground

John Mitchell has stepped down as Lions head coach and will continue as a consultant over the next 12 months.

After a five-month spat between the Johannesburg union and the Kiwi coach, the two parties have agreed final terms.

Mitchell will continue as an advisor and will not be allowed to work at any other South African union or franchise. However, he will be allowed to work overseas and has recently signed a deal with English Premiership club the Sale Sharks.

This comes after the 48-year-old was suspended in June after the players complained about his strict and harsh management ways during Super Rugby. He was found not guilty in November.

Johan Ackermann, who mentored the Lions during the Currie Cup in Mitchell’s abence, takes over as head coach on a permanent basis.

‘This was made at John’s request and we accepted,’ Moggee told ‘With the Lions relegated from Super Rugby, he felt there was no use in taking the team forward with Johan also on the management. He believed that Johan had to continue with his progress, after doing well in the Currie Cup.

‘John will still add value as an adviser over the next 12 months, as we prepare for the Super Rugby promotion-relegation play-offs.’

Mitchell first joined the Lions in June 2010 and coached the team to their Currie Cup title in 2011.

By Gareth Duncan