Lions coach Mitchell suspended

2012-06-22 14:22

The Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) 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 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.

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