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Rugby | European Rugby

John Mitchell © Gallo Images

Mitchell answers Sale SOS call



Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell has rejoined Sale Sharks, taking up a position within the struggling Premiership club's management board.

The 48-year-old New Zealander had been carrying out some work for the English club last month as a consultant at a time when he was still head coach at South African side Golden Lions, despite being suspended on misconduct charges.

He was subsequently cleared of these charges and then resigned from his position, freeing him up to take up his post with Sale, where he served as a player-coach in the late 1990s.

Sale have not confirmed what title Mitchell will take but he will join chief executive Steve Diamond, head coach Bryan Redpath and businessman Ian Blackhurst on the strategy management board.

He flew back into Manchester on Tuesday and took a coaching session the following day.

The Sharks are hoping his influence will help them pull clear of relegation trouble, having been cast five points adrift at the bottom with one win from nine games.

"Dimes (Diamond) sort of gave me an SOS call to see what was happening," Mitchell said.

"At that particular time I was in suspension and had to go through a process. I'm thrilled to have got through that process to be found innocent of all allegations.

"The next thing was to be reinstated in my position and then, at that point, I mutually agreed with the Golden Lions that they have moved on and emotionally I have moved on.

"That's what I had to get done. It's taken a lot longer than I would have hoped.

"It's been six months and five days of a hearing, so it's been an arduous process but I had to get everything cleared so that I could move on. My reputation is still very much intact and also my brand."

Sale announced sweeping changes to their structure on October 31, with rugby director Redpath moved to a new position.

Since then former Sale hooker Diamond has taken a more hands-on role in the coaching department while awaiting Mitchell's arrival.

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