The mystery of Mitchell's Sale move

Sat, 17 Nov 2012 19:02
Large kevin de klerk lions logo 6 Large john mitchell face 630 Large ruben moggee mic2 630 Large kevin de klerk looks 630 Large john mitchell lions2 630 Large john mitchell lions1 630

The mystery surrounding John Mitchell's negotiations to return to Sale Sharks in England deepened at the weekend.

The mystery surrounding John Mitchell's negotiations to return to Sale Sharks in England deepened at the weekend.

Golden Lions Rugby Union President Kevin de Klerk claimed he was unaware of the move by Mitchell to negotiate a way out of his current contract with the Johannesburg-based union.

This despite reports quoting Sale Chief Executive Steve Diamond, suggesting that the former All Black coach, Mitchell, is negotiating with the GLRU and is set to join the Sharks early next week.

Diamond was quoted in the English media as saying that Mitchell will join the Sharks "in the next 48 to 72 hours".

"John's negotiating his way out in South Africa and he's set to join us in the next 48 to 72 hours," Diamond told The Guardian newspaper.

However, both De Klerk and GLRU CEO Ruben Moggee claimed they were unaware of this development.

"He [Diamond] knows of something that I don't know of," De Klerk told this website in an interview on Saturday.

"As far as I am concerned it is business as usual, John [Mitchell] is still the Lions' coach," the GLRU boss added.

De Klerk admitted there has been plenty of speculation in recent times, but they are still expecting Mitchell to turn up for pre-season training on Monday.

Mitchell, who returned to work last Monday after his suspension ended, has a contract with the Lions till 2013.

Later on Saturday the GLRU issued a media release refuting the media reports that Mitchell is set to join the Sale Sharks.

"The Golden Lions Rugby Union would like to report that media coverage today [Saturday], stating that Lions head coach John Mitchell will join the Sale Sharks within 48 hours, is false," the GLRU statement said.

"According to GLRU CEO Ruben Moggee, John Mitchell still holds a contract with the Lions and news that he will depart South Africa this weekend is nothing but foreign media speculation at this point. "

Mitchell initially joined Sale on a consultancy basis this season, with a view to a permanent move.

The former New Zealand coach was still employed by the Lions, but was suspended in June due to allegations of misconduct.

Mitchell returned to work at the GLRU last Monday, following a four month period of absence, and said he was looking forward to his future at the Union.

"I am excited about being back at the Lions and learnt a lot during the time I was away," Mitchell said in a statement.

"I am looking forward to working with the many new faces in the team and I am sure they will bring a lot of energy to our set-up,” he added.

By Jan de Koning

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 27 November 2015
Leinster v Ulster 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Edinburgh v Dragons 19h35 BT Murrayfield
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 19h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 28 November 2015
Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 15h00 Sandy Park
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Saracens v Worcester Warriors 15h15 Twickenham
Munster v Connacht 17h15 Thomond Park
London Irish v Wasps 17h30 Twickenham
Sun, 29 November 2015
Scarlets v Zebre 14h30 Parc y Scarlets
Leicester Tigers v Bath 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26