Cape Town - John Mitchell is looking forward to his new challenge as head coach of USA’s national rugby team.
USA Rugby on Monday confirmed the appointment of Mitchell on a four-year deal.
Mitchell, a former All Blacks, Western Force and Golden Lions coach, was recently linked with the Stormers head coaching role but the Cape franchise eventually opted against hiring the New Zealander.
The Stormers had initially appointed Eddie Jones as their head coach, but were then forced to look for a new mentor when Jones left them for the England head coaching job.
The Capetonians eventually appointed former backline coach Robbie Fleck as interim coach.
But the Stormers’ loss is America’s gain and Mitchell is keen to get the ball rolling over there.
“I am excited about putting my strengths into play and taking on this role to transform USA Rugby into a stronger unit by the end of 2019,” Mitchell told USA Rugby’s official website.
“For me personally, this is a very powerful nation that has an immense audience for this amazing sport.
“Having worked previously with (USA Rugby CEO) Nigel Melville, and knowing his level of experience and knowledge in all aspects of the game, I am confident in my decision to take on this role. I know I will have the necessary support and stability a head coach requires.”
Melville commented: “Following our review of the Eagles performances at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, we decided to make changes to the programme and are delighted that John has agreed to lead the development of the Eagles in our next World Cup cycle.
“Having worked with John at Wasps in 1999 and 2000, I have an intimate understanding of John’s strengths and the value that he can bring to the Eagles programme. John is an outstanding coach with experience at all levels of the game who will develop a strong team culture, focus on the basics of the game and bring fresh ideas where they are most needed. John will also work closely with our domestic elite coaches and age grade teams.”
Mitchell’s first match as Eagles head coach will come against fifth ranked Argentina in the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship on February 6 in Houston, Texas.