Get to know the former All Blacks coach who has just become England's next defence coach.

Who Is John Mitchell?

At the 2019 Rugby World Cup you are sure to hear a lot about England‘s improved defence which is probably down to the introduction of John Mitchell as defence coach back in 2018. Who exactly is he? Let’s take a look.

Born in Taranaki, New Zealand John Mitchell has led an illustrious and global coaching career.

A former back-rower, Mitchell made his name as a number eight whilst playing for Waikato, a provincial side on the north island of New Zealand. He eventually was given the captaincy of the side and would do so 86 times. He also scored 67 tries for the team.

Mitchell never quite made it into the All Blacks Test side although he did represent the men in black on six uncapped occasions in a Tour of Britain in 1993.

Heading into 1995, he became a player coach for Fraser Tech before eventually retiring later that year. He then pursued a career in coaching which has seen him coach teams across the globe as you can see below.

John Mitchell Coaching Record

  • 1994-1995 – Fraser Tech
  • 1996 – Ireland (Forwards coach)
  • 1996-1999 – Sale Sharks
  • 1997-2000 England‘ (Forwards coach)
  • 1999-2000 London Wasps (Assistant coach)
  • 2000 – Waikato B
  • 2000-2001 – Chiefs
  • 2001-2003 – New Zealand
  • 2004-2005 – Waikato
  • 2006-2010 – Western Force
  • 2010-2012 – Golden Lions
  • 2011-2012 – Lions
  • 2012 – Sale Sharks (director of rugby)
  • 2013-2014 – UKZN (University of KwaZulu-Natal)
  • 2016-2017 – United States
  • 2017 – Bulls and Blue Bulls
  • 2018 – England (defence coach)

His most recent head coaching role was with the Bulls, a South African team based in Pretoria.

“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.”

Eddie Jones said; “Defence is a key pillar of our game and John is an experienced coach.  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.”

It has also been announced Scott Wisemantel will continue his role as attacking coach.

Wisemantel first joined up with the England side for the 2018 series in South Africa, and the former rugby union and rugby league player has stayed on.

Eddie Jones said at the time, “We are really pleased to have Scott back for the Quilter Internationals as we continue to develop our attack. He did a great job with us in South Africa in June.”

Wisemantel has worked with Jake White at Montpellier and has worked with Jones before at the 2015 World Cup with Japan.

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