John Mitchell says there is an ’emotional connection’ to his position as England’s defence coach.
Mitchell is currently in his second stint as an England assistant coach, having previously worked as their forwards coach between 1997 and 2000.
He has since enjoyed various coaching stints, the last of which came at the Bulls, where he was director of rugby and head coach from May 2017 to September 2018. However, Mitchell vacated the position to rejoin England at the request of Eddie Jones.
‘When I walked back into the England changing room at Twickenham before the South Africa game, it had been 18 years since I’d been into that room. I was quite overwhelmed actually, as I immediately had an emotional connection,’ Mitchell said.
‘The dimensions of the room were the same, but it was a lot more contemporary. I guess what I’m going back to is my apprenticeship here.
‘For me, I haven’t coached in New Zealand for 15 years and haven’t lived there close to 20 years, so while I’m naturally proud of that heritage, it is probably not really something that drives me the most.
‘To get back and be part of England, it doesn’t feel like it is just a job, I feel emotively connected and I think that’s come from the past.’
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