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Mitchell finally breaks silence over quitting England for Wasps

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

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Ex-England assistant John Mitchell has finally broken his silence on why he surprisingly quit working for Eddie Jones’ national team to hook up with Gallagher Premiership outfit Wasps just months after signing a February contract extension that was to take him through to the 2023 World Cup in France. Eyebrows were raised over the summer when the New Zealander became the latest assistant coach casualty in Jones’ revolving door England era. 

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Reports emerged in October that the sudden parting of the ways had its genesis in a dispute where Jones allegedly tried to prevent Mitchell from watching his son play cricket for Middlesex during a rugby down day. However, the Kiwi has refuted that this was the specific reason for his exit, claiming instead it was in April that he decided he wanted to leave the England post he had since September 2018.  

The exit of Mitchell resulted in huge pressure being placed on Jones leading into the recent Autumn Nations Series regarding his coaching methods and his high turnover in backroom staff, but the now Wasps attack coach insisted his relationship with the Australian was still cordial despite the reported bust-up over a cricket match.  

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Wasps held a midweek media briefing ahead of this Sunday’s Champions Cup tie with Munster and the Coventry Telegraph reported Michell’s take on his England exit. “I woke up one day in April, having been thinking about it for a month at least, and just thought ‘at the end of the day I’ve got to make sure I live by what I value the most’.

“I thought it’s time to make the right decision. It was an easy decision actually in the end. I had a normal chat and at the end said, ‘Eddie, I’m done, mate, thanks very much. You have now got the opportunity to find someone else. You have got two years to do that’. It’s amazing the older you get you are certainly less ambitious for yourself. You learn in this game to take the good with the bad.” 

Regarding his current relationship with Jones, who now has Anthony Seibold coaching the England defence, Mitchell added: “Eddie texts me and we have chats. I invited him around to my home for a meal when Hiroko’s been away. That will continue. Eddie has a selection process with his assistant coaches and I’m sure there will be a visit before the Six Nations.”

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