UKZN Impi bring in Mitchell

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 4 Sep 2013 at 12:09
Tagged with : , , , ,

Former All Black coach John Mitchell has been appointed Director of Rugby at UKZN, with the goal of securing a place in the “top tier of Varsity Rugby”.

Since their first appearance in the newly formed Varsity Shield competition some four years back, UKZN’s Impi side has made steady progress, but never quite managed to crack the tournament win that would be needed to qualify for Varsity Cup promotion. While they’ve made gains in player quality over those years, one feels that a solid injection of “something” is needed to get htem to the next level – and it’s clearly felt that Mitchell is the man to overhaul their structures – and hopefully also attract players to the setup.

Speaking to Rugby365, Mitchell confirmed “KZN is my home now and I am passionate about rugby. I believe I am in a position in life to impart knowledge and pass on my vast experience to serve and work with our people. I look forward to leading, nurturing, teaching, and inspiring young students in an important time in their lives.”

Let’s hope this works out for both parties and that we see, in fullness of time, a strong and competitive KZN team competing in the Varsity cup proper, which can only be good for rugby in the Sharks region. Welcome, John!


  • Should have been Sharks coach never mind.

  • Comment 1, posted at 04.09.13 12:17:33 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld

  • Comment 2, posted at 04.09.13 12:21:45 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) :


  • Comment 3, posted at 04.09.13 12:27:15 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • No actualy Sharks would win finals,top of log doesn’t bring silverware now does it

  • Comment 4, posted at 04.09.13 12:34:14 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @benji (Comment 4) :

    We haven’t had a chance yet to play a final, you know?

  • Comment 5, posted at 04.09.13 12:34:51 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : Random, much!

  • Comment 6, posted at 04.09.13 12:35:03 by Die Kriek Reply

  • @Die Kriek (Comment 6) : I get worked up about random, non-specific and unprovoked negativity!

  • Comment 7, posted at 04.09.13 12:40:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I’m happy he’s involved but its quite a fall from grace for Mitchell…..from AB coach to DoR of the Impi’s. 😯

  • Comment 8, posted at 04.09.13 12:43:14 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : So your “hot-button” list goes something like this?:

    1. Chadwick
    2. Reinach
    3. Sharks current coaches
    4. Kings


  • Comment 9, posted at 04.09.13 12:47:49 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • UKZN and Sharks academy are direct competition so where do you think most of the good players will go? Its not a tough decision. Unless the Sharks academy is going to be disbanded its pointless throwing resources behind UKZN. Its sad but true.

  • Comment 10, posted at 04.09.13 12:52:57 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 8) : There must be a lot more to this than what we are reading here.

    Any behind the scene details available Rob.

  • Comment 11, posted at 04.09.13 12:53:29 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 9) : I’m sure you left out a few 🙂

  • Comment 12, posted at 04.09.13 12:57:13 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 11) : roooomerz, mate…. nothing but.

    But the Academy must, um, “skrik wakker”, I think. No more taking in soccer players and that sort of thing.

  • Comment 13, posted at 04.09.13 12:58:04 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Need to rope this guy in as one of the specialist coach. He is too good to be ignored.

  • Comment 14, posted at 04.09.13 13:11:10 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • I agree,his knowledge,understanding etc especaily of the southern hemisphere game is light years ahead of anything on offer in this country,BV included,at the moment

  • Comment 15, posted at 04.09.13 14:02:47 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • I doubt Mitchell will be brought into the Sharks. He has a history of not been well liked by players regardless of how good he is. BV and JS have made it pretty clear that creating a good environment at the Sharks is one of their top priorities, and I can’t see them doing anything that could jeopardize that.

  • Comment 16, posted at 04.09.13 14:32:18 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I don’t have any inside info or anything, so I’m just speculating here, but it’s a real weakness in KZN rugby that we are totally missing out on the hype surrounding Varsity Cup, and I believe the powers that be are doing something to address the situation. I can see some sort of linkup happening between the Sharks Acadamy and UKZN in future that will allow the Academy to be involved in varsity Cup rugby through an affiliation with UKZN. The Academy is a big drawcard in attracting players to KZN, but how much bigger could it be with an affiliation to UKZN that meant that players joining the Academy could play Varsity Cup rugby.

    UKZN also needs to make themselves an attractive destination for talented young players, which currently they are not. The appointment of John Mitchell on its own is not going to suddenly get UKZN into Varsity Cup, but his appointment combined with an affiliation to the Academy will do the trick.

    I say well done, great move, about time we were part of Varsity Cup.

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.09.13 19:06:13 by jonnow Reply

  • @jonnow (Comment 17) : The only problem with that thinking is that the Sharks Academy is massively backed by Varsity College in terms of bursaries etc that UKZN will not be able to match, at least in the short term. So until that changes The Academy and UKZN will be competing against each other. There is no financial benefit for the academy to cave to the best interests of UKZN.

  • Comment 18, posted at 05.09.13 08:19:19 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 18) : well, sorry to say it, but the Academy MUST NO LONGER exist for its own financial benefit. That’s not why it exists.

  • Comment 19, posted at 05.09.13 09:14:28 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : Yeh look rugby sense and financial sense dont always correspond as you well know. The Academy is a company and as such it needs to justify to shareholders etc. So to cease to exist would result in a loss of jobs etc. I cant see the academy and UKZN merging interests in the near future. Would not not be more worthwhile to get the academy team into VC rather as that is the institute attracting the players not UKZN

  • Comment 20, posted at 05.09.13 11:45:49 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 20) : If the Academy wants to operate like that, then I guess it’s fine, but then it must do so without the pretence of being a vehicle solely aimed at producing quality juniors players for the Sharks.

  • Comment 21, posted at 05.09.13 11:52:42 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @SheldonK (Comment 20) : I can’t see the Varsity Cup organizers allowing the Sharks Academy to enter a team into the Varsity Cup, purely because they are a rugby academy, not a Varsity, so it would be unfair on the other bona fide universities to allow this.

    I have no idea of how the mechanics will work, but KZN needs representation in the Varsity Cup and UKZN is the most obvious vehicle, unfortunately they currently don’t attract the players to do this. With John Mitchell in charge and an affiliation with the Sharks Academy, allowing Academy players to represent UKZN, KZN and UKZN would be a very attractive destination for talented young players.

  • Comment 22, posted at 05.09.13 12:10:18 by jonnow Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : On that topic, hope this is not too long.

    How to handle negative people

    This is something to think about when negative people are doing their best to rain on your parade. So remember this story the next time someone who knows nothing and cares less tries to make your life miserable.

    A woman was at her hairdresser’s getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded:

    ” Rome? Why would anyone want to go there? It’s crowded and dirty. You’re crazy to go to Rome. So, how are you getting there?”

    “We’re taking Continental,” was the reply. “We got a great rate!”

    “Continental?” exclaimed the hairdresser. ” That’s a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they’re always late. So, where are you staying in Rome ?”

    “We’ll be at this exclusive little place over on Rome ‘s Tiber River called Teste.”

    “Don’t go any further. I know that place. Everybody thinks its gonna be something special and exclusive, but it’s really a dump.”

    “We’re going to go to see the Vatican and maybe get to see the Pope.”

    “That’s rich,” laughed the hairdresser. You and a million other people trying to see him. He’ll look the size of an ant.

    Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You’re going to need it.”

    A month later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome .

    “It was wonderful,” explained the woman, “not only were we on time in one of Continental’s brand new planes, but it was overbooked, and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot.

    And the hotel was great! They’d just finished a $5 million remodeling job, and now it’s a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us their owner’s suite at no extra charge!”

    “Well,” muttered the hairdresser, “that’s all well and good, but I know you didn’t get to see the Pope.”

    “Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I’d be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me.

    Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me..”

    “Oh, really! What’d he say ?”

    He said: “Who f#&*@d up your hair?”

  • Comment 23, posted at 05.09.13 13:00:42 by Bump Reply

  • @jonnow (Comment 22) : Yeh look I get your point but maybe its more worth the effort to get the functioning academy into VC through Varsity College than try through the dysfunctional UKZN. Remember to play for UKZN you have to be a student there, well half the team anyway. Studying through UKZN is just not attractive to youngsters as remember not all will make it in rugby so will have to rely on education.

  • Comment 24, posted at 05.09.13 13:02:51 by SheldonK Reply


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