Aviva Premiership
Diamond: Mitchell to toughen up Sharks
ESPN Staff
October 12, 2012
John Mitchell gets to work in South Africa, Platinum Leopards v Xerox Lions, Currie Cup, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Phokeng, South Africa, July 9, 2010
John Mitchell's controversial reign at the Lions is almost over © Getty Images

Sale Sharks chief executive Steve Diamond believes John Mitchell will instil a "rod of iron" into the Aviva Premiership club.

Diamond expects the former Sale director of rugby and All Blacks head coach to join the Sharks' current coaching staff in the near future as he comes to the end of his contract with the Golden Lions in South Africa.

Sale have had a disastrous start to the season. They are without a win and bottom on the Aviva Premiership after all the optimism of pre-season following a move to the Salford City stadium and the signing of players such as Danny Cipriani and Richie Gray.

Mitchell, 48, is known as a hard task master and was suspended by the Lions in June after the players criticised his coaching methods and man-management skills. But Diamond believes Mitchell's discipline is just what the Sharks require.

Diamond told the BBC: "I feel John is the man to work with [director of rugby] Bryan Redpath. We're talking to John about potentially coming to join us and the negotiations have gone well.

"He is coming to the end of a contract [with the Golden Lions] in South Africa and hopefully he will come and do some consultancy for us in the short-term and then look to make it a permanent move.

"Once the immigration and work permits are sorted out we'll sit down and get the deal done. John brings a wealth of experience and a rod of iron that rugby teams do need. You need a bit of steel running through your body when you go out to win games.

"It's not an 'old school' mentality, you just have to put your bodies on the line and on one or two occasions we haven't done that and one or two occasions we haven't applied what we've learned in the week.

"As a combination I feel John is the man to come in and work with Bryan Redpath and bring that back to the fold.

"There isn't one thing that's going wrong, it's a combination of a lot of things. Our scrum will hold out for 70 minutes and in the last 10 minutes it gets a bit of a pasting, so the whole generic way we play has got to be looked at and finely tuned.

"I think Bryan is old enough and has been round long enough to know it isn't a one-man job. The raft of experience John brings, anyone would be foolish not to accept that.

"We've all hung our egos on the door - the club has come a long way in 18 months to two years, and all the hard work we've done I don't want to throw away. All the coaching staff will enjoy working with him."

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