Australian Rugby
Mitchell returns to coaching Force
January 5, 2009
The Force's coach John Mitchell looks on during the warm up before the round 12 Super 14 match between the Western Force and the Chiefs at Subiaco Oval in Perth, Australia on May 3, 2008.
Mitchell is back on the training ground with his Western Force side ahead of this season's Super 14 kick off next month © Getty Images

Western Force coach John Mitchell has returned to coaching duties with the Super 14 side although an independent investigation will still be completed over allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

The former All Blacks coach took charge of pre-season training on Monday after restrictions on his access to to the team were lifted at the conclusion of interviews with players and staff.

Mitchell, who is contracted to the Force until the end of 2011, was placed on 'restricted duties' last month after complaints of inappropriate behaviour towards employees with reports that up to 30 players and 10 members of staff had refused to back him.

"I'm contracted right through to 2011, so I feel real secure," Mitchell told reporters. "It has been a very interesting, challenging and beneficial period over the last 40 days. It is going to require all of us to pull together to be totally committed and obligated in putting our hands up moving forward as a group, and caring about each other.

"I dont think I need to explain my style, I have had success in the past with groups and there is no reason why we won't gain success here as a group going forward. I am the first to admit that I am not perfect and I need to evolve my leadership going forward, and I am looking forward to that. I don't feel on my own at all."

RugbyWA chairman Geoff Stooke said, "At the end of the day John Mitchell is our coach and he'll continue in that role. It's not appropriate for me to comment on the inquiry, it's still not completed and we still haven't seen the report. If there are issues to be addressed it's up to him and others to address those issues. If recommendations come out regarding the contents of the report we'll address them at the time."


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