United States
John Mitchell returns to Test fold as new USA coach
ESPN staff
January 4, 2016
© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell will return to the Test fold this year after he was unveiled as the new head coach of the United States on a four-year deal.

Mitchell will replace former coach Mike Tolkin who oversaw the Eagles' winless Rugby World Cup campaign where they suffered defeats to Scotland, Japan, South Africa and Samoa.

"I am excited about putting my strengths into play and taking on this role to transform USA Rugby into a stronger unit by the end of 2019," Mitchell said.

"For me personally, this is a very powerful nation that has an immense audience for this amazing sport.

"Having worked previously with [USA Rugby CEO] Nigel Melville, and knowing his level of experience and knowledge in all aspects of the game, I am confident in my decision to take on this role. I know I will have the necessary support and stability a head coach requires."

Mitchell had recently been linked with the Stormers job which was vacated by Eddie Jones when the Australian took charge of England late last year. But that move was reportedly blocked by the South African Rugby Union in part due to his previous stint as coach of the Lions.

Mitchell boasted an 86 per cent success rate with the All Blacks in a three-year stint that yielded two Tri Nations crown and the return of the Bledisloe Cup in 2003. But he eventually paid the price for a failed 2003 World Cup campaign where New Zealand were defeated by hosts Australia in the semi-finals.

Mitchell also played six Test for the All Blacks and has also enjoyed coaching stints at Western Force and Sale Sharks.

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