Three-year Stormers deal for Mitchell?

Date published: November 25 2015

According to reports in the South African press, former All Blacks coach John Mitchell has put pen to paper on a three-year contract with the Stormers.

The ex-Western Force and Lions coach has long been rumoured to be the front runner to replace new England boss Eddie Jones, who left the Stormers last week after just a fortnight.

The Times reports that sources have confirmed Mitchell visited Cape Town on Tuesday to seal his return to coaching.

Mitchell – who captained Waikato a record 86 times during his playing days and had an 84 percent winning ratio as All Blacks coach – has not coached at senior level since 2012 but is one of the rare coaches to meet Western Province director of rugby Gert Smal's criteria for a leader with "six or seven years experience" at Super Rugby level.

Mitchell was first offered the post back in June but didn't feel comfortable with the terms.

"An approach was made to me and there were negotiations, but unfortunately Gert Smal is only contracted as Western Province Director of Rugby for another two years, so there were no guarantees for me beyond that period," Mitchell told SuperSport at the time.

"Had I been offered a four-year deal, it would have been different. But I have travelled around the world a lot to pursue my career as a coach and didn’t want to uproot my family again for the promise of just two years. I didn’t want to commute either, as I believe you have to be fully immersed in a culture to be effective as a coach."