Ackermann is new Lions coach
Ackermann is new Lions coachSHARE
The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced on Friday that they have reached a new agreement with John Mitchell, which will see Johan Ackermann take over as head coach.
GLRU CEO Ruben Moggee confirmed to this website that they had "terminated" Mitchell's contract, which was scheduled to run till the end of 2013, and that a new agreement has been drawn up.
Mitchell will, with immediate effect, assume the position of 'technical advisor' to the Golden Lions.
His assistant, Ackermann, takes over the head coach position.
The latest development means Mitchell will, between now and February, be able to act as a consultant with English Premiership club Sale Sharks.
He is expected to eventually take up a full-time position at the English club.
"John [Mitchell] is free to do consultancy work with Sale, but he has to be back here [with the Lions] in February," Moggee told this website in an interview.
"He can also do work for other institutions, like television, but he is just not allowed to consult with any other South African franchise"
Moggee confirmed that the new agreement means Mitchell does not have to be in office every day, but he will do analysis of the Lions and their opponents and help Ackermann with advice.
"We didn't want to cut the cord with John [Mitchell] altogether and naming Johan [Ackermann] as head coach means there is some continuity from the Currie Cup," Moggee said.
Mitchell's new agreement with the GLRU is a one-year consultancy role, where he will use his expertise and experience to provide necessary technical advice to the Lions.
GLRU president Kevin de Klerk said he is "pleased" with the new arrangement and believes the team will benefit immensely from the new set-up.
"We are looking forward to the future and believe the new agreement with John is the ideal alternative for the Golden Lions," De Klerk said.
"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."
Mitchell, despite the acrimonious stand-up with the GLRU after they suspended him in June, said he is still "committed" to 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."
By Jan de Koning