‘I’m not Eddie Jones’: New coach John Mitchell promises long-term commitment to ‘amazing’ Red Roses

John Mitchell is set to lead England into a home World Cup in 2025

Sign up to our free sport newsletter for all the latest news on everything from cycling to boxing

Sign up to our free sport email for all the latest news

Thanks for signing up to the
Sport email

New Red Roses head coach John Mitchell has affirmed his commitment to the role as he bids to lead England to home Women’s Rugby World Cup glory in 2025.

The former assistant to Eddie Jones and Clive Woodward was appointed head coach of England in May.

It is the vastly-experienced Mitchell’s first role in the women’s game and comes after a long, varied career that has included two stints with England’s men and a period in charge of the All Blacks.

The Red Roses will hope to put last year’s World Cup final heartbreak behind them as they target a triumph on home soil in less than two years’ time. Mitchell’s contract is believed to run beyond the 2025 tournament.

And referencing his former boss — who has been appointed as Japan head coach after walking away from Australia after a disastrous men’s World Cup campaign — Mitchell has insisted he is “absolutely committed” to taking an “amazing team” forward.

“I’m not an Eddie Jones,” Mitchell said, speaking for the first time since taking the role. “That’s just not going to happen.

“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 No 1 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 had won 30 consecutive matches before falling narrowly short in the Eden Park final last year.

John Mitchell (left) spent three years as a defence coach with England’s men under Eddie Jones

The Red Roses have led the way on the path to professionalisation, and victory in the inaugural edition of WXV1 – including a win over world champions New Zealand in Auckland – has re-established their place at the top of the women’s rugby pecking order.

Mitchell arrived at the tournament midway through after concluding his work with Japan at the men’s World Cup, but has already been instrumental in implementing aspects of a new, more open style of play which has been well received by the squad.

Revealing that he had approached the RFU regarding the vacancy after Simon Middleton announced his departure, Mitchell hopes to continue to build a winning, enjoyable culture that will allow England to express themselves.

John Mitchell has enjoyed a successful, varied coaching career

“Watching the girls in the World Cup, then I watched them in the Six Nations,” he added. “I kept showing more interest in them and was wondering why I was showing more interest in them. When the opportunity became available I thought, ‘I’ll definitely go and have a coffee and see what they’re looking for, where does the programme need to go next.’ I thought, ‘that excites me’. And that was it.

“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.

“[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.

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

The Red Roses secured victory at the inaugural edition of WXV1

“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.

“They will be challenged in that area, certainly by myself. I think collectively, [we want to] carry on and get better, and individually make sure we allow the girls to present themselves and their communities authentically.”

Source: Read Full Article