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Bulls sign ex All Blacks coach Mitchell

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/05/2017
John Mitchell in a 2012 file photo © Getty Images John Mitchell in a 2012 file photo

South African Super Rugby side the Bulls have named former All Blacks coach John Mitchell as their executive of rugby, confirming he will finish as United States national coach.

Mitchell will take up his new post in July, after the US Eagles have played their mid-year World Cup qualifying matches.

The Blue Bulls Rugby Union announced Mitchell will replace Nollis Marais, who will continue with the Pretoria-based province's domestic Currie Cup side.

Mitchell, who played six times for the All Blacks and coached them from 2001 to 2003, has held roles previously in South Africa.

He worked with the Lions Super Rugby franchise from 2010-12, following a four-season stint with Australia's Western Force.

He will be asked to reverse the fortune of the three-time Super Rugby champion Bulls, who have won just three of their 11 matches this season.

Meanwhile, the 53-year-old believes his 16 months with the US team has been a success, stretching beyond their 7-5 win-loss record in his 12 Tests in charge.

In a statement he said he had turned the Eagles into a "highly competitive" side.

"It has been a huge privilege to play a major part in USA Eagles history and be associated with the development of young American men living a dream playing and coaching for their country," he said.

The US play home-and-away matches against Canada which will determine the Americas 1 qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

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