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WITH just five weeks to go to the first round of the 2010 Currie Cup season, the Gauteng Lions on Sunday announced John Mitchell as their new coach.
Mitchell, who currently coaches the Western Force from Perth, Australia, in the Super 14, will be assisted by forwards coach Johan Ackermann while Carlos Spencer will help out with the backline coaching responsibilities.
"After much speculation in the media and public after discussions with John, it gives me great pleasure to confirm that John will be joining us shortly in a coaching consultancy", CEO Manie Reyneke said on Sunday.
Mitchell has an impressive CV as a player-coach. He is only one of three New Zealanders to have played with, captained and coached the All Blacks.
One of his early coaching jobs was as an assistant to Clive Woodward in England. After that it was back to New Zealand for a stint with the Waikato Chiefs and then elevation to the position of All Black coach for the 2003 World Cup.
An early exit at the quarterfinal stage resulted in a shake-up in the coaching staff and Mitchell was sent packing.
Since 2006 he has been the head coach of the Western Force, with whom he has had mixed results. Mitchell's contract with the Force ends only at the conclusion of the 2011 Super 14 season so he will return to Perth at the end of the Currie Cup competition.