Aviva Premiership
Redpath welcomes Mitchell appointment
ESPN Staff
October 18, 2012
Lions coach John Mitchell talks to the media, Lions press conference, Johannesburg Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa, May 31, 2012
Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell is set to join the staff at Sale Sharks this month © Getty Images

Under-fire Sale boss Bryan Redpath has welcomed the likely return of former All Blacks coach John Mitchell to the Sharks' management set-up.

Mitchell, who both played for and coached Sale in the 1990s, is set to be drafted in by chief executive Steve Diamond in a bid to reverse their fortunes having slumped to six straight defeats in the Premiership - a run of results that has left them firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.

The 48-year-old Kiwi was present as the Sharks stopped the rot with victory over Cardiff Blues in their Heineken Cup clash last weekend and he is also likely to watch their latest euro outing against Montpellier on Sunday but will not take an active role with a legal dispute with his former employers, the Johannesburg-based Lions, yet to be resolved.

Redpath is not concerned by his likely place in the likely pecking order, insisting that the club's plight must take precedence, and believes Mitchell's experience can only help the team out of the hole they find themselves in.

"The big thing now is about the club," Redpath told The Guardian. "It's about us getting back on track and winning some games, and we can't worry about reputations at the moment. Will that change over the next few months? Well, I'll worry about that over the next few months.

"Obviously there's lots of chat about John and he's got a wealth of experience and if it does get sorted out we'll tap into that as much as possible. The rugby club's bigger than me. So I've got to make sure I do my end of the bargain and prepare the players properly to perform, and not get too bogged down with who potentially will be added to the staff and the squad."

Redpath also told the newspaper that he had been assured by Diamond that his role "wouldn't change in any way. My role will be supported with someone else that allows Steve to go back into the commercial and marketing element of the club. Every coach needs somebody there he can bounce stuff off - he's [Mitchell] been through a lot himself, good or bad. At this present moment we've got to knuckle down and concentrate on doing a job and our egos have got to be put to one side and get on with the coaching and working."

Mitchell, who was suspended by the Lions in June after the players criticised his coaching methods and man-management skills, is known as a hard task master and graduated from the Sale coaching ranks to England where he served as an assistant to Sir Clive Woodward.

He later returned to New Zealand with the Chiefs before taking the All Blacks reins, eventually steering them to the 2003 Rugby World Cup semi-finals. His coaching career has since taken in stints with the Western Force in Australia and the Golden Lions in South Africa who he steered to the Currie Cup crown.

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