Update: Mitchell suspended by Lions

Lions coach John Mitchell has been suspended with immediate effect from the Lions Rugby Union


The Golden Lions Rugby Union have suspended coach John Mitchell with immediate effect.

This follows revelations that a group of players have presented a ‘list of grievances‘ to GLRU president Kevin de Klerk as a result of the manner in which Mitchell treated his players.

De Klerk, in an interview with the Rugby365 website, confirmed that Mitchell has been suspended with immediate effect.

“The nature of the (players’) complaints is so serious that we have suspended him (Mitchell), pending further investigation,” De Klerk said.

Mitchell’s assistants, Carlos Spencer and Johan Ackermann, will take charge of the team when the Super Rugby competition resumes next weekend.

The Lions‘ three remaining fixtures this season will see them take on the Stormers at Newlands (June 30), the Rebels in Johannesburg (July 7) and the Bulls in Pretoria (June 14).

The Lions are currently bottom of the South African Conference with two wins and 11 defeats in their 13 matches to date. They lie 14th in the Combined log, one point ahead of the Blues.

They are assured of finishing last in the South African Conference, which will in all likelihood see them be replaced by the Southern Kings for the 2013 tournament.

Mitchell is well known as a hard, no-nonsense type of coach.

A similar scenario played itself out in 2008 when he coached the Western Force when most of the players became fed up of his strict coaching methods. He was also unpopular as All Blacks coach and was sacked after they lost in the semifinals of the 2003 Rugby World Cup to Australia.



Born very long ago (1944). Journalist 1968-1980 and freelance since then (writing, editing, translations). SABC-TV 1980-1997. 

  15 comments for “Update: Mitchell suspended by Lions

  1. avatar
    June 22, 2012 at 9:24 am
    Hi guys, first post on here. Love the site.

    Is this something that only came out now? Last year when the Lions were beating all in the CC, nothing was mentioned on this.

    Did Mitchell actually start taking guys to task for sub-par performances and this amde them run to the headmaster (de Klerk)?

  2. avatar
    June 22, 2012 at 9:29 am
    Let’s be honest here. The Lions are not the most talented bunch so they need to be pushed a bit harder on the training field. JM is not there to be your friend, he’s the boss. If I don’t perform my boss will also turn in to dwis, which is fair. Put on your big boy pants and make him happy with some results on the playing field. Softies…
  3. avatar
    June 22, 2012 at 9:40 am
    Reply to Craven @ 9:24 am:

    Hi Craven – welcome.

    You know how it goes, when all goes well problems are kept under wraps, but when the pressure is on the blame-game sets in good and proper.

    I must say, given Mitchell’s record with other teams the players might have a point.

  4. avatar
    June 22, 2012 at 10:03 am
    Reply to Morné @ 9:40 am:

    Thanks Morne, jip he does seem to have a bit of a reputation that follows him.

    Anyway, just received this on e-mail, thought it was funny:

    “Wynand Olivier het onttrek aan die Springbok span vir Saterdag se toets teen Engeland. Hy is blykbaar een van die blommemeisies op Frans Steyn se troue”.

  5. avatar
    June 22, 2012 at 10:09 am
    Reply to Craven @ 10:03 am:

    Similar to:

    ‘Pierre Spies fans be sure to catch the Boks when they take the field on Saturday, Pierre Spies will be leading them out which means that 20 seconds window will be the most you will see of him during the entire 80 minutes!’

  6. avatar
    June 22, 2012 at 10:12 am
    Nice one!

    Actually think Pierre has played well enough to justify his place so far in the series.

    And his pressence at the back of the lineout makes a huge difference. I would have Pierre and Duane as the eightmen for the Rugby Championship.

  7. DavidS
    June 22, 2012 at 10:42 am
    I have decided that this serious nonsense will have to go…
  8. avatar
    June 22, 2012 at 11:15 am
    Reply to Morné @ 9:40 am:

    Sharks also having a bit of a haphazard
    I think Kanko is not the only unhappy chappie.

  9. avatar
    June 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm
    JM has just been suspended!
  10. avatar
    June 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm
    Reply to Thomas_Bulls @ 3:16 pm:

    So we gather from the thread.

  11. avatar
    June 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm
    “I have decided that this serious nonsense will have to go…”

    What do you mean Dawie?

    Also over JM despite the many kudos’ out there over the last two seasons?

  12. DavidS
    June 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm
    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 4:40 pm:

    No Bryce

    As in all the seriousness of the last few weeks with Pierre Spies, HM, the Bull Boks, the non white Boks, the Lions’ kak, the squealing Stormers fans, now John Mitchell, the kak with the Irish beating the baby Boks…

    ALL of it is too serious

    So I decided to make a Valiant thread to calm us all the f**k down and have a laugh

  13. DavidS
    June 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm
    This actually sucks in many indescribable ways…

    Maybe we can now offer a deserving South African coach a job… Mallett? Brenden Venter?





    He’ll bring Earl Rose back…

    Not sure.

    I would suggest we a decent local coach rather.

    Who is in the market?

    Gert Smal?

    Jayquite never made secrets out of wanting to coach the Lions either… but too much baggage there…

    Carel Du Plessis?

  14. avatar
    June 22, 2012 at 10:02 pm
    Reply to Boertjie @ 4:26 pm:

    My post was before the thread was updated. ;-)

  15. Duiwel
    June 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm
    At least he didn’t come up with staaldraad.
    Baai-baai kiwi,miss you already

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