Mitchell confirmed as Chiefs coach

2000-10-04 10:25

Auckland - Former England assistant coach John Mitchell has been confirmed, as the new head coach of the Chiefs Super 12 rugby team for the next two seasons.

Gary Dawson, who is both Waikato Rugby Union and Chiefs' chief executive, said Mitchell had won a close decision over ``some excellent and well qualified candidates''.

The decision however, leaves former Waikato coach John Boe out in the cold for another two years as far as his home region and province are concerned.

``We would hope there are other opportunities for him and for him to continue with those such as the New Zealand age group sides and Samoa,'' Dawson said.

``It was a tough decision to make because we had a lot of very, very good candidates who made strong cases for their appointment.

``But ultimately it was decided that John Mitchell was the best person for the job and that is the decision that has been settled on.''

Dawson pointed out that the presence of independent people in the decision making process showed that Mitchell was never a rubber-stamped choice.

The deciding panel comprised Greg Peters from the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, Dawson and former All Black Stan Meads, and a representative of the recruitment agency Sheffield Consultancy as independents.

``When John decided to return home it was to work with our rugby development programme with an aim for him to look at whatever opportunities came along.

``That we had independent people on the panel means he was never promised anything and he went through the same interview process as everyone else.

``It was not an easy decision, but now it has been made, and we wish him all the best for the next two years.''

Dawson said, without going into the details, he believed it was Mitchell's time and success with the English forwards, his attitude, approach and ability which won him the nod.

An assistant coach to Mitchell has yet to be appointed although the indications are that Kevin Greene may continue in that role.

Greene was coach and Mitchell captain when Waikato ended Auckland's 61-match Ranfurly Shield defence record in 1993.

``The appointment of an assistant will take place in a day or so and certainly John Mitchell will have a degree of say in that,'' Dawson said.

Boe said on Wednesday that he would now consider his options after yet again being snubbed despite his loyalty to New Zealand.

``The first thing I did today was to ring Mitch (Mitchell) and congratulate him. I genuinely do wish him all the best in the job,'' Boe said.

``But I now have to take stock, it is likely I'll get the New Zealand under-19s again and Samoa have always said they'd like me problems there.

``But as far as this decision goes, I guess you do get to a point past a series of disappointments.

``What I'll be doing personally over the next couple of days is sitting down with people whose rugby opinions I respect and take stock of the direction of my rugby coaching.

``There is nothing more available in New Zealand, and for sure there are times when you wonder if you did make the right decision.''

Boe turned down the opportunity to coach Italy in the Six Nations - a position which has gone to former All Black and Fijian coach Brad Johnstone - in order to stay loyal to New Zealand. - Sapa-NZPA