Mitchell blocked from Stormers job

Date published: December 18 2015

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John Mitchell's appointment as head coach of the Stormers was blocked by WPRU president Thelo Wakefield based on fears over his coaching style.

Mitchell had been lined up by WP director of rugby Gert Smal to take the head coaching job vacated by Eddie Jones.

The former Lions and Force boss has the kind of experience the Stormers appeared to be looking for from their new coach and has lived in South Africa for several years.

But fears over the manner of his exits from those previous roles with the Lions and Force, with players reportedly unhappy with Mitchell's management style, appear to have had an effect.

Wakefield was joined in his opposition to bringing Mitchell on board by WP CEO Rob Wagner and chairperson Sam Dube.

Robbie Fleck has since been appointed as the Stormers' interim head coach for the 2016 season.

"We made a massive investment in young players like Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Damian de Allende, Siya Kolisi, Scarra Ntubeni and several others. It will be wrong to expose them as well as team management to such risk," Wakefield told Netwerk24.

"As much as I would have liked to have adhered to Gert's request, I remained hesitant. I believe in Gert's knowledge of the game and I let him follow the lead.

"However, there comes a time when a request needs to the denied for valid reasons."

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