Home #LoveRugby Official: John Mitchell join Bulls (Video)

Official: John Mitchell join Bulls (Video)


The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed on Thursday evening that decorated international rugby coach John Mitchell has been appointed as their new Executive of Rugby.

This appointment is the next step in the unfolding turnaround strategy announced by the company two weeks ago.

Barend van Graan, CEO of the BBCo, explained that the appointment is merely a next step in the turnaround strategy: “We are working hard to ensure sustainable and long term success for the Vodacom Bulls. As part of the process, we have now appointed the best candidate to take over the reins at the Vodacom Bulls. We are also continuing with the rest of the process, to listen to people whose insights will help our turnaround succeed. We are working towards achieving success as a team on every front, to grow our supporter base and to earn trust in our brand”.

“I said from the start that this would be a thorough process. We looked at options both internally and externally, and had various other discussions and forums to ensure we would identify the correct candidates. The signing of a coach with the magnitude and experience of Mitchell is a massive coup for us, as his coaching credentials and achievements speak for themselves. I’m sure John will be able to add immensely in terms of our goals to win trophies and more importantly to help the continued development of our coaches and players.”

The 53 year-old dad of three, who was born in Hawera New Zealand, boasts an impressive record both as a player and as a coach. Mitchell played in six matches for the All Blacks, captaining them on three occasions. As a coach he lead them to several memorable victories with an amazing success rate of over 80%, which included 2002 and 2003 Tri-Nations Championships, third place 2003 IRB World Cup and also the Bledisloe Cup in the same year.
“I enjoy challenges and this surely is a serious challenge, but one that excites me tremendously”, said Mitchell.

“I have coached against the Vodacom Bulls and the Springboks many times before. They have a rich history of success, tradition and a legacy that surely surpasses most within SA Rugby and perhaps even world rugby. I am well aware of the responsibilities that come with this job, but I am also excited about the opportunities and the talented players at the Vodacom Bulls.”

Gert Wessels, president of the union, was also excited about the appointment, “It’s been a tough year at Loftus, and some big decisions had to be made. The Bulls Board and Executives decided to implement a strategy, which will have an immediate effect on the short term with the least disruption on players and coaches and further exacerbate an already dire situation. I have no doubt that John is the man to take the Vodacom Bulls forward and establish strategies that will benefit the Bulls in the long term, and I am rather excited about having a man of his caliber on a our team. He is a humble man, who epitomizes rugby values and what this beautiful game stands for, and I firmly believe that he will be an asset to our structures.”

John Newberry, Chairman of the board, elaborated on Nollis Marais’ role going forward, “Nollis will remain in his role as the Currie Cup Head Coach. The BBCo have invested a lot of time and resources in him over the past six years, and he has come through our ranks and has achieved many successes with the various teams over the years. He is a great coach and a true Blue Bull at heart.

“This appointment will strengthen his hand and ensure that he still adds value and remains a vital part of our system. We value his efforts, his commitment and ability to adapt to the changes, but most importantly his potential to walk the path forward with this brand. He is a integral part of this system and will fulfill a very important role in Mitchell’s management team.”

The Blue Bulls Company would also like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our sponsors: Vodacom, Afgri, Isuzu, Puma, as well as all the other associates, but most importantly to our supporters for showing their loyalty through this process.

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  1. With this guy in charge and with talent at their disposal – honestly this can only be hugely good for SA rugby. Gdam these bulls got more upstairs than I gave them credit for.

    Think is tho how much power has he been given. Cos those rockstar rugby players need to know who is boss, otherwise they going to exploit it when Mitchell pushes them or they get dropped for not performing. I say Mitchell will have an impact in his first season but it’s the second season and thereafter where shit will start happening.

    This is going to be a rugby revolution. Honestly short of this dude being appointed coach of a Boks, I cannot think of anything better for SA rugby.

  2. Good luck John. You are going to need it. We have become a team of pre madonnas. Will need a strong hand to guide us.

    Hopefully you can make a success with the vast resources and massive pool of talent we have. Jeez as much as I think he has been shown up on the coaching front, this excites the hell out of me. We asked for change, this is it.

  3. @cab: I’m amazed as well. This caught me by surprise. This was a really well guarded secret. Everyone was thinking van graan would get it.

  4. Reckon you give Marais couple of years under Mitchell and he be up there with the best. strikes me as v decent and diligent and good coach. He will hoover up what Mitchell passes on.

  5. Now that Fat Clown, Hoskins see what shit decision they made not to get him for Stormers….

    Great sign for Bulls

    How things gonna change, Ackers leaving Lions and Micth coming to Bulls gonna be interesting to look at from the side

  6. @cab: What Jake said, should have proper head coaches to get guys like Nollis, Fleck and Du Preez to the right standard, not all have the chance to have a union like Lions to give a coach like Ackers a few years to develop

  7. Yeah Jacques, think you right that JW has a point here. I gone off white tho, he’s comments seem to be about getting a place for himself. Always was a good analyst , but Mitchell in a different league. This is proper cutting-edge creative rugby coaching.

    I shudder to think what Mitchell could’ve done with natural open turning of wp, but blue bulls natural talent nearly as good, some years even better.

    That wp president is one super duper dummy of note.

  8. @cab: last two pieces from the Snake was actaully about rugby and not for him to secure a job

    I was quite suprised but agree fully with him

  9. Have the Bulls employed a translator yet? Or has John done an online Afrikaans course?

  10. @Jacques:

    Not just Hoskins, Kevin de Klerk also phoned Thelo remember?

    Wonder why Kevin did not feel the need to phone Barend, or maybe Barend actually had the balls to tell Kevin to eff-off, unlike Thelo.

  11. @Aldo:

    Oh sure, he deserves credit for what he achieved at the Lions, but maybe he should stay out of other union’s business. hehe

  12. @Aldo: Don’t think people know how much Rudolf are doing at Lions

    With the combination of Ackers and Swys.

    Don’t get me wrong De Klerk is a hard man like Rudolf and Mitch do not take shit but they got personal with Micth and way out of line with the Stormers debacle

  13. @Jacques: I completely agree that he overstepped with the Stormers thing. But he has done a lot, from contracting Rudolf to getting sponsors on board. He has a lot to do with the Lions turnaround. That he got personal about with Mitchell is sad, but in the past. Reflects poorly on the Stormers and him. But it is long gone, doubt he did the same again.

    Back to Mitchell. I have done some messaging. Seems the guy said he will only take the job if Pine is his right hand. Sees more in Pine than I do. Also seems he will not be taking Cancer I mean Xander’s nonsens and that Barend had a lot of negative feedback regarding Xander in consulting to find a turnaround strategy for the Bulls. Things might just be changing if Barend’s eyes opened regarding Xander

  14. @Aldo: On De Klerk, agree he is a hard non nonsense man which I like in our rugby…

    Pine is also not my favorite but lets see how Mitch will shape a sick union with so much talent…

    The Bulls have one of the best junior setups in the country and they have allot of talent there, he can make the Bulls incredible with putting the right structures in place throughout the union, I think that is why his title is Executive of Rugby.

    I think e will have total control of the structure throughout the union which will make them great again…

  15. Haha cannot believe I missed this… we can stop taking the piss out Cab and Mitchell’s poor provincial rugby record as it is imperative the Bulls get back to their best with such a talented squad (in most positions)…

  16. Bryce they may be talented but not at present. Too green. No genuine tight 5 meneers, which Mitchell can work by changing style as did with lions – but also has more talent to draw on.

    I wonder if Michell realised that bills and wp are actually the 2 pillars of sa rugby. I get the feeling that a lot of kiwi coaches went for lions cos of joburg and Ellis park and 1995 RwC team, but the powerhouses of junior talent are wp and bulls. This v different prospect. If he gets the tight 5 to start dominating, the rest will be history.

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