26 May 2017

John Mitchell to help the Bulls

7:02 am on 26 May 2017

Struggling South African Super Rugby side the Bulls have named New Zealander John Mitchell as their Executive of Rugby.

Mitchell replaces Nollis Marais, who will continue with the domestic Currie Cup side.

John Mitchell during his time as coach of Perth based Western Force.

John Mitchell during his time as coach of Perth based Western Force. Photo: Photosport

Former loose-forward Mitchell, who coached the All Blacks between 2001 and 2003, has worked in South Africa before with the Lions Super Rugby franchise, and also spent four years at Australia's Western Force.

The 52-year-old most recently worked with the U.S. national team.

The Bulls have won just three of their 11 matches this season and have only a slim mathematical chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals, making it unlikely they will add to their three Super Rugby titles.

"I enjoy challenges and this surely is a serious challenge, but one that excites me tremendously," said Mitchell.

"I have coached against the Bulls and the Springboks many times before. They have a rich history of success, tradition and a legacy that surely surpasses most within SA Rugby and perhaps even world rugby. I am well aware of the responsibilities that come with this job, but I am also excited about the opportunities and the talented players at the Bulls."

Barend van Graan, CEO, explained that the appointment is merely a next step in the turnaround strategy.

"We are working hard to ensure sustainable and long term success for the Bulls. As part of the process, we have now appointed the best candidate to take over the reins at the Bulls."