Aviva Premiership
Mitchell poised for Sale switch after quitting Lions
ESPN Staff
November 23, 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 will soon join Premiership side Sale according to chief executive Steve Diamond © Getty Images

Former All Blacks boss John Mitchell looks set to confirm his move to Premiership side Sale Sharks after stepping down as head coach of the Lions in South Africa.

The Golden Lions Rugby Union has announced that Mitchell, who was recently revealed as part of Sale's newly-formed 'rugby strategy management board', will move into a technical advisor role with the Johannesburg-based Lions and work as a consultant for the next year.

Mitchell, who was recently cleared of misconduct charges levelled against him earlier this year, appears intent on laying the foundations for what he hopes will be the Lions' return to the Super Rugby stage in 2014 having seen them relegated this year but the agreement appears to free him up to make a return to English rugby having previously played for and coached Sale and served as an assistant for former England coach Sir Clive Woodward.

Chief executive Steve Diamond assumed control of the Sharks last month in a bid to improve their fortunes with director of rugby Bryan Redpath moving into a head coach role having seen his side slump to the bottom of the Premiership table on the back of a disastrous run of results.

Diamond has previously stated that he will remain in his current post until the end of the current season but predicted last weekend that Mitchell would link up with the club this week having agreed a satisfactory exit from the Lions. However, Mitchell has stressed he has unfinished business with the Lions.

"I am pleased that Kevin de Klerk and GLRU CEO Ruben Moggee have been extremely supportive of my wish to remain on board at the Lions, while allowing me the chance to consider other associations linked to rugby," said Mitchell.

"I am fully committed to helping the Lions and head coach Johan Ackermann in the rebuilding process. I have unfinished business with the Lions and this new arrangement will enable me to help the team achieve the goals they have set out."

Lions while GLRU president Kevin de Klerk also attempted to draw a line under a troublesome period in the Lions' recent history. "We are looking forward to the future and believe the new agreement with John is the ideal alternative for the Golden Lions," said De Klerk.

"It is a wonderful opportunity for us to utilise John's expertise while offering an up-and-coming coach like Johan the chance to deliver and develop. We would like to thank John for his contribution to this Union thus far and wish him well for his other endeavours in the future."

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