John Mitchell has turned down an offer to join the Chiefs coaching staff in order to focus on his commitments with England.
Mitchell was offered the opportunity to join the Super Rugby giants, where he would have worked with former Waikato teammate Warren Gatland, who is returning from Wales to coach the Chiefs next year.
Mitchell confirmed he was offered the chance to join the Chiefs as an assistant with the added incentive of stepping into the head coaching role during Gatland’s one-year absence in 2021, when the latter takes a sabbatical to take charge of the British & Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa.
‘When I got the opportunity for the two years to stay with England there was also an opportunity to go back home, back to New Zealand, as well,’ Mitchell said.
‘It was with the Chiefs. With Gats having to do the Lions as well in that sabbatical they were going to need a head coach. It was going to be more of an assistant role but moving into the head coach for that particular window.
‘Emotionally it felt really good but sitting down with family and looking through it, I’ve made the right decision at this time in my career.’
‘I spoke to both my children and just felt it was more important to stay with England and this group and Eddie [Jones]. For me it’s important to continue this association and look to get better and make sure our team and players get better as well.’
Mitchell admitted that the Chiefs offer was enticing and has not ruled out the prospect of one day returning to the province he represented in 134 games.
‘It is tempting but I also think I can still do it at some point in my life,’ he explained.
‘That doesn’t necessarily need to be a head coach, it could be supporting a younger coach that’s going to need that kind of experience.
‘It’s a tough job head coaching these days, they’ve got to balance a lot of balls.’
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