Mitchell hopes to change 'player habits'

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 10:04
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REACTION: New Zealander John Mitchell would have hoped for an easier start to his tenure as the Blue Bulls' on-field coach.

However, he now realises it will 'take time' to change mindsets and bad habits.

Mitchell's Bulls walked into an ambush in Nelspruit last Friday, when they suffered their fourth consecutive defeat in the Currie Cup - a season low 51-15 loss to the Pumas.

Mitchell, initially unveiled as the Executive of Rugby back in May, would have hoped for a better start when he took over from Nollis Marais as the on-field coach six days earlier.

However, the hard-nosed and well-travelled Kiwi admitted that it was not going to be a quick-fix.

"We recognise our current limitations," Mitchell told rugby365, when asked for reaction to the loss at the weekend.

"We have a vision and strategic plan in place that we are focusing on."

Mitchell, who said the union were in denial for too long when he took over from Marais last week, admitted that restructuring is never nice.

"We are also going through a change in mentality an approach in which the athletes will take time to adapt to be on the same page," Mitchell told rugby365.

"The performance [against the Pumas] was clearly not our best - conceding five tries through defending the maul and [conceding] three yellow cards.

Player habits and ownership in the franchise is still very much in an education and mentoring process."

The Bulls host Griquas at Loftus Versfeld on Friday, September 1, an Mitchell hope they can finally begin to arrest the slide.

The Bulls have slipped to sixth on the seven-team standings - ahead of the bottom-placed Golden Lions, whom they meet in Johannesburg on September 16.

By Jan de Koning

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