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RFU and Bulls agree deal to make John Mitchell England’s new defence coach

By Adam Ellis

John Mitchell will fly to England later this week to begin his tenure as defence coach under Eddie Jones after the RFU and Super Rugby franchise Bulls reached a compensation deal.

The Kiwi fills the void left by Paul Gustard among the Red Roses coaching department and sees Mitchell join the employ of the RFU for a second time, having worked as assistant coach to Clive Woodward between 1997 and 2000.

“This is an exciting opportunity to work with England Rugby and support Eddie Jones as head coach,” Mitchell said.

“I will be joining an elite high-performance programme, Test team and coaching group where I will use all my experience and focus to bring the necessary clarity and confidence to the players from a defensive perspective.”

The price of Mitchell has not come cheaply with reports in South Africa suggesting a fee between £150,000-£250,000 will be paid to the Bulls.

The Pretoria-based club conceded more points and more tries than any other side in Super Rugby’s South African Conference.

Mitchell’s contract at Twickenham runs to the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the same length as Eddie Jones’. The RFU has already publicised its contingencies should England not fare well in Japan, with a successor for Eddie Jones most likely to come from within the current stock. Take stock of the betting odds with William Hill cash out services during the Premiership season and upcoming Autumn internationals.

“Defence is a key pillar of our game and John is an experienced coach,” Jones added.

“He’s coached the All Blacks, USA Rugby and a number of Super Rugby sides so he will bring a wealth of experience and add to the coaching mix we have here.”

As well as his experience on gained across multiple continents, 54-year-old Mitchell has also spent time in the English game with Wasps and Sale.

Meanwhile, Scott Wisemantel will continue in his role as an attack consultant, having initially taken up the position for England’s summer tour to South Africa.

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