John Mitchell says ‘I’m not Eddie Jones’ and vows to stick with Red Roses

Jon Wilson
John Mitchell and Eddie Jones England training 2021 - Alamy.jpg

John Mitchell and Eddie Jones at an England training session in 2021.

New England women’s head coach John Mitchell has quietened comparison to former colleague Eddie Jones.

Mitchell was the defence coach for the England men’s team when Jones was head coach. Both have also worked with Japan and, while Jones has returned after a stint with Australia, Mitchell has moved into the women’s game and insisted that he is committed to the Red Roses cause.

“I’m not an Eddie Jones.  That’s just not going to happen,” said Mitchell.

‘An amazing team’

“I always owed it to myself to lead a programme again. This is an amazing team that has a winning mentality. That really excited me and the fact that they are the number one team in the world, how can we sustain that and stay above the rest?

“With the exponential development and focus on women’s sport, to me, that’s a major challenge because other teams are going to get better. We need to stay above them. That’s the part that really excites me.”

England will host the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2025. They won the tournament in 1994 and 2014 – and have been runners-up on six occasions.

“The Red Roses have an identity. They have a winning mentality already. They’ve created a legacy already in terms of the number of games they’ve won. They’ve won World Cups before, and they’ve lost World Cups,” added Mitchell.

“We have our purpose, collectively, but we need to give them the opportunity to communicate their individual why authentically as we play and progress.”

Vastly experienced

Mitchell has vast experience coaching men’s teams, including New Zealand and the United States at international level. He has also coached the Bulls in South Africa, Waikato in New Zealand and Western Force in Australia at national level. This is his first coaching job in women’s rugby.

“I’ve had failure and success and I’ve lived with a lot of girls in my time. I wouldn’t be here as a coach if I wasn’t prepared to learn. That’s a really good strength of mine and I’m open to learning a lot about the physiological and psychological advantages that the girls have,” concluded Mitchell.

“To me, it is more about continuing what we are doing and getting better at it. Because we are not great. We are not phenomenal; we are very good. We have the opportunity to take another step, and that’s going to force people to change the way they think.”

READ MORE: Eddie Jones confirmed as Japan head coach despite some JRFU reservations