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Mitchell to continue with England

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John Mitchell signs England extension - reports

There has been plenty of speculation over England’s post-Rugby World Cup coaching group in recent months, with only Steve Borthwick, of the assistant coaches, contracted long-term to the RFU.

Head coach Eddie Jones signed a two-year extension to his deal, which will see him continue his role through to 2021, while England search for his successor.

Assistant coaches John Mitchell and Neal Hatley were both due to part ways with England after the RWC, with Hatley set for a return to Bath as forwards coach under new director of rugby Stuart Hooper. Mitchell, who the RFU paid a healthy compensation package to the Bulls to secure, had not confirmed his next coaching destination after the trip to Japan later this year.

According to The Telegraph, however, Mitchell is set to sign a two-year extension to his current contract, just as Jones did, which will take him through to 2021 as England’s defence coach.

The New Zealander could then potentially be in the frame to replace Jones as head coach, or even feature on the British and Irish Lions coaching staff, with the previous incumbent Andy Farrell likely to be busy in his role as Ireland’s head coach. Borthwick will also likely be in the running for the position, with the former Bath and Saracens forward having been mentored by Jones throughout his coaching career so far.

Mitchell’s acquisition by England was treated with a fair amount of scepticism when first announced, thanks in part due to the long list of clubs and unions Mitchell had worked at, many for short tenures. But his influence on the England defence, which has become more predatory and opportunistic, has helped the side turn around following their 2017/18 dip in form.

Having coached the USA, Bulls and England all within the last three years, it looks as if Mitchell will remain in one place for the next few years and continue to contribute to the rises of Maro Itoje, Tom Curry and England’s other emerging stars, as the team improves their ability to force turnovers and counter-attack on the transition.

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John Mitchell signs England extension - reports