John Mitchell appointed England defence guru

John Mitchell (Gallo Images)
John Mitchell (Gallo Images)

London - Former New Zealand head coach John Mitchell is to take charge of England's defence after the Rugby Football Union paid South African province Blue Bulls a reported £200 000 in compensation.

CONFIRMED: Bulls part ways with John Mitchell

The 54-year-old - who guided the All Blacks to the 2003 World Cup semi-finals where they lost to hosts and bitter rivals Australia - fills the vacuum left by Paul Gustard, who took over at Premiership side Harlequins after England's tour of South Africa in June.

Mitchell is no stranger to English rugby. He coached the England forwards under Clive Woodward in the late 1990s and had two spells with Sale - as head coach and then as director of rugby - and was an assistant coach with Wasps.

"I will use all my experience and focus to bring the necessary clarity and confidence to the players from a defensive perspective," said Mitchell, who was executive of rugby at the Bulls.

Mitchell will have to hit the ground running as England face a tough series of Tests in November and head coach Eddie Jones is under pressure to turn results around after a poor year so far.

Scott Wisemantel will continue his role as attack coach, after working with England on the tour of South Africa.

The 48-year-old Australian was recently backs coach for Top 14 club Montpellier and worked with Jones when he was head coach of Japan at the 2015 World Cup.

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Pakistan 139/2 (49 ov)
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England 0
Pakistan 139/2 (49 ov)
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