John Mitchell believes he can play a part in making England the best team in the world within the next year.
Mitchell recently left Pretoria to become England’s defence coach, with the RFU reportedly spending £500,000 (R9.4-million) to secure his services until the end of next year’s World Cup (£300,000 on salary and £200,000 on compensation to the Bulls).
The 54-year-old New Zealander, who coached the All Blacks from 2001 to 2003, said he wanted to help England get better and was not thinking about replacing Jones as head coach one day.
‘People will speculate but the No 1 position is not even on my mind,’ he said. ‘I have a job to do, I am on a one-year contract and I will fulfil that the best I can.
‘Whatever happens after that, I will decide, but there is certainly no talk or ambition around that situation.’
While many have questioned the wisdom of putting two strong characters in the same coaching team, Mitchell believes he will work well with Jones.
‘It’s funny the perception you [the media] create and I sometimes laugh at it,’ he said. ‘For some reason, people see that as the reality, and it’s not.
‘I just want to roll up my sleeves, support my boss and bring in an attacking mindset and approach to our defence. [Former defence coach] Paul Gustard has done an extremely good job and I’ve now got an opportunity to extend on that.
‘I really believe we can get better and be the best within a year’s time. We are challenging ourselves to get better and ultimately I think I can play a part in that and contribute to that.
‘I can support Eddie and for me, it’s great that I can concentrate on one area of the game but also bring a lot more and mentor the back row having played there myself. My experience allows me to help some of the younger coaches during challenging times.
‘I’m very comfortable in my own skin and where I’m at.’
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