Stonehouse puts hand up for Bulls coaching job

Jimmy Stonehouse (Gallo Images)
Jimmy Stonehouse (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Jimmy Stonehouse says he is eager to become the next head coach of the Bulls.

Netwerk24 reported on Sunday that Stonehouse, who currently coaches the Pumas in the Currie Cup, is being considered by the Bulls as a possible candidate to replace John Mitchell.

Several recent reports have indicated that Mitchell is set to leave the Bulls to become England’s new defence coach.

Stonehouse told the Afrikaans publication that he was “hoping and praying” that he would become the new Bulls coach.

“I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for long. I turned down another offer four weeks ago because I realised I wanted to coach here (in South Africa). I hope I get a chance. If it doesn’t happen this time around, then I know it’s not meant to be.”

It’s not certain when Mitchell will leave the Bulls, with the Pretoria franchise seemingly unhappy at the manner in which England had approached Mitchell.

The Times of London newspaper reported earlier this month that the Bulls lodged a formal complaint with World Rugby over the conduct of the English RFU.

The Bulls submitted their grievance through SA Rugby after it came to light that the RFU had approached Mitchell directly in June.

However, it appears that World Rugby does not intend to take any action against the RFU because the regulation which covers contracts applies to players only.

The English publication claimed the RFU tabled an initial compensation offer of £50 000 (R984 000) before the Bulls responded with a demand for £500 000 (R9.8 million). The Bulls will probably accept a fee of about £250 000 (R4.9 million), the report added.

If appointed by England, Mitchell will become their new defence coach, replacing Paul Gustard who left for Harlequins following the June Test series against the Springboks.

The New Zealander’s tenure at the Bulls will come to a premature end as his contract was due to only expire at the end of October 2019. He had a torrid first Super Rugby season in charge of the Bulls, winning just six of 16 games to finish bottom on the South African Conference.

Mitchell was previously the England forwards coach between 1997 and 2000 under Sir Clive Woodward.

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