John Mitchell quits England role to leave Eddie Jones without a right-hand man

John Mitchell gives instructions during an England 'A' training session in Leicester, England, last month. Picture: STUFF SPORTS.

Eddie Jones has lost another key aide in his England coaching team after his right-hand man John Mitchell agreed to join Premiership club side Wasps for next season.

Only in February, New Zealander Mitchell had signed a new contract taking him through to the 2023 World Cup as defence coach, but the former All Blacks coach has become the latest departure after agreeing to become an assistant at the Ricoh Arena.

It continues the high turnover rate of Jones’ tracksuit lieutenants with Matt Proudfoot, who oversees the forwards, the only man still in his post.

Simon Amor departed as skills coach following England’s dismal fifth-place finish in the Six Nations while Australian Jason Ryles’ brief tenure as skills coach ended because of travel complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now Mitchell has also gone just over two years out from the next World Cup, placing a significant dent in England’s preparations for France 2023.

The 57-year-old former All Blacks boss was a popular figure among players who valued his occasionally unorthodox approach to coaching the defence and it is unlikely that Jones be will able to recruit anyone of his stature.

Jones is now looking for new defence, attack and skills coach in another major rebuild of his management team so soon after Steve Borthwick, Neal Hatley and Scott Wisemantel departed in the wake of the 2019 World Cup.

“I’d like to thank John for his hard work and dedication over the last four years,” Jones said.

“He will go with the best wishes from everyone in the England team.

“I am sure he will do a great job in his new role at Wasps,”

In a brief statement, the Rugby Football Union said that it is in “the process of finalising a contract for a new England attack coach and the recruitment process for the defence coach role is well under way”.

Mitchell will be completing his second stint at Wasps following a spell as an assistant during the 1999-20 season and will primarily take responsibility for the club’s attack.

 

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