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Ken Borland

Focus on immediate results & lack of resources for coaches will cost SA franchises – Mitchell

Posted on June 25, 2015 by Ken

Former All Blacks and Lions coach John Mitchell says a continued emphasis on immediate results and resources not being dedicated towards developing coaches will mean South African Super Rugby franchises will continue to struggle.

The Bulls and Stormers are both looking for new head coaches for Super Rugby, the Sharks are restructuring their coaching staff and the Southern Kings are yet to appoint their leading man.

“It is going to be a serious worry if those franchises make emotional appointments. They need to look at due process and appoint a group of coaches, not just make a one-man appointment.

“It’s a really grave concern in our industry, we’re the only sport where a player can become head coach two years after he has finished playing. Coaching is about experience and wisdom and there are a lot of fantastic minds around. But it’s scary how results-based everything is. These organisations don’t realise that many of them are in a development phase and that takes more than 18 months.

“There’s also a lack of resources, time and money spent on coaches. A lot of them aren’t ready for Super Rugby level and I don’t believe in the whole system at the moment, there needs to be a change in mindset, we need to find ways to get smarter. Rugby has become a game of transition, it’s about how quickly you re-form on attack or defence, it’s about building pressure with the ball and moving it into space, not over-working by trying to bash it through the gain-line all the time,” Mitchell said at a Powerade launch for their new ION4 sports drink.

New Zealand’s 2003 World Cup coach has been linked with the coaching jobs at both the Stormers and Sharks, but he said that although he still loved coaching, a full-time post was not his desire at the moment.

“I’m really enjoying being a businessman at the moment, I’ve been given a great opportunity, and I’ve done 20 years of coaching all around the world. I’m at peace with what I’m doing and I’ve actually learnt a lot being on the outside, looking in.

“I turned down the Stormers, although I could really work with Gert Smal [Director of Rugby], but I didn’t want to come in on top of another coaching group and I wasn’t keen on commuting. The Sharks could have asked me a long time ago and they need to be accountable for the last two tenures.

“A coaching job has to be right for me and neither of those are at the moment. This time I will coach on my own terms, with the right people, I want to play a part rather than be the focal point. I’m 51, so I’m still young in coaching terms and I have a lot to offer. I love coaching, it will never leave me, but I believe I can share and serve the game in other ways at the moment. Being a consultant coach is still an option, but it needs to be the right fit and frequency, not full-time,” Mitchell said.


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