England defence coach John Mitchell will continue dressing up as the opposition as Georgia enter the sights of Eddie Jones’ Six Nations champions.
As part of an indoor training session held during the build-up to the title-clinching win in Rome last Saturday week, behind-the-scenes footage shows Mitchell putting on an Italy jersey and scrum cap before charging towards a group of his forwards.
The former New Zealand boss was smashed backwards to the sounds of laughter from the watching players and while comical, the moment also conveyed a crucial idea.
“The thing these days is to get a message across and you can do it in so many different ways,” said England assistant Mitchell ahead of Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup opener against Georgia.
“It’s important to create a bit of theatre around the message and to give yourself a chance as a coaching group for it to land and create a bit of fun around the message.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 11, 2020
“It’s about putting it in context. Prior to me dressing up, there were questions around how Italy carried and what sort of running lines do they run, etc. And there was the funny bit at the end. These days you are very conscious of presenting to this generation in many different mediums – that just happens to be one medium that you can use.”
Among the players to drive Mitchell backwards and on to the floor was Bath tighthead prop Will Stuart. “It was a nice little touch – I was actually in that defensive line and didn’t realise that the two people outside me were going to smoke him too, which was the best part about it!” Stuart said.
“It was good commitment. It’s the first time here that I have experienced that. You do it at club level a bit, someone will wear a scrum cap and be the opposition’s talisman.”
David Humphreys in back in rugby…
And the ex-Ireland outhalf is once against plotting England's downfall, among other things.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 8, 2020
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