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Monday, January 4, 2016

Eagles Pick John Mitchell As Head Coach

Earlier today U.S.A. Rugby announced that John Mitchell has been hired on as the next Eagles coach. The New Zealand native has signed a four year deal that will take him through the 2019 World Cup in Japan. Capped six times for the All Blacks Mitchell was a long-time standout at Waikato in the back-row. He also played in Europe. Moving to the coaching ranks Mitchell has held positions with Sale and as an England assistant coach. He also coached the Western Force and the Golden Lions.

It's unclear who Mitchell beat out for the position as U.S.A. Rugby and the folks around the team have been fairly tight-lipped. However, former head coach Mike Tolkin did re-apply for the job and issued this statement today:

Take the jump to read more.

"I have been privileged to lead the United States Eagles over the last three and a half years. It has been a period of growth for the Men’s National Team, and I take pride in the fact that the Eagles are in a better and stronger position today than when I began. While I would have liked to continue with the program, I am grateful for my time with the team and players, and I always approached my responsibility to the Eagles with the passion and attention it warranted.

"I thank the many coaches at all levels of American rugby who were helpful and constructive in the process of  development as well as the many supporters who remained loyal and enthusiastic. Ours is a complex landscape, and the help of the American rugby community was a massive support system.

"Finally, I salute the many players who have represented our country with pride and who have made great sacrifices for the team, no matter how short or long their tenure on the National Team. They left their best on the field and always competed, often against great odds. Likewise, I sincerely thank all of the coaches and staff members who have worked with me and who have given everything for the cause of the Eagles. They have similarly and willingly made great sacrifices for the Eagles.  Together, we have all represented the Eagles with pride, dignity and honor."

What do you think of the news? Did the Eagles hire the right coach?


  1. Sure. He's a good coach who hit fired cause he lost in the semis of the World Cup. Honestly as long as he gives every eligible eagle a fair shot at the team always and makes growing rugby in the US a priority he'll be good

  2. This is really good news for the USA Team. He is a coach similar in the Mike Friday mould, as he will accept no passengers & zero BS.

    I'm gonna miss his commentaries on SuperSport though.

  3. Some people will hear New Zealand and cheer (my father) but his All Blacks days are well behind him.
    He seems to have moved around a lot.
    No opinion so far.
    He will have to hit the ground running to pull a team together for the Americas games next month.
    We'll be watching.

  4. Please note that he is known for his no-nonsense coaching style.
    I don't think Americans will respond to such harsh discipline, especially since it did not result in victories from his time in South Africa.

    Does anyone have any evidence to contract this article?

    1. I wouldn't say that there is evidence to contradict the article , but I would say that he was at the helm during a downward period of the lions and that their struggles went well beyond his coaching style.

      I will off this: I think Americans will respond positively to his harsh discipline. Tolkin could be quite harsh, but I have a feeling the Mitchell will take a different type of approach (while still being tough).

      Its a wait and see situations. He is coming along at a good time and we needed change.

    2. To say that American players won't take to his strict and no nonsense style of coaching is a bit off the mark. Coach Friday has a similar style. No nonsense, earn your spot all the time, constantly improve. Tolkin was Ann ass about it though. His strictness was on stuff that really didn't have much to do with skill on the field. If Mitchell restricts that to skill on the field, and effort, then the players will take to it like a sponge to water.

  5. The sport24 website is owned by naspers which is the largest newspaper and pay TV group in south africa. The article is legit. It should be a red flag, but if this is the only red flag, then he should be given a chance.

  6. Players don't like him wherever he has coached and how about him admitting to being in on and aiding in a prank to put sleeping pills in some players beers as a joke. I realize this seems like a good hire because of his pedigree, but he said in his own words that he didn't want to coach a lower teir international team, what do you think is going to happen here when he runs into struggles he hasn't experienced before like he will in the U.S.

  7. You may be right Steelerer. http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/why-stormers-snubbed-mitchell-20151217 this link has another more serious look at Mitchell from a reputable publication. Mr. Reed, could this be a cover story for you.