Mitchell the perfect concrete pill

With the Stormers in need of a shakeup, the current coaches just a smidgen green, and the recent Eddie Jones debacle, TANK LANNING believes it to be “Mitchell time.”

Tank Lanning writing for the Vodacom Rugby Website

Yes, you know the one … The one that suggests those with a slightly softer or whinier side take a concrete pill in order to “Harden the hell up”!

And I am suggesting that John Mitchell would do exactly that were he to be appointed as the next Stormers coach. And yes I am also suggesting that said dose of concrete would be perfectly timed down in the fairest Cape.

Not because the players have become soft – In fact I would dare anyone to tell Eben Etzebeth, Rynardt Elstadt or Pieter-Steph du Toit that to their faces – And not only because it is said that a few of the senior players are against Mitchell’s appointment.

It’s because, like South African rugby in general, the Cape is in need of a radical shakeup. Ideally that shake up should include a constitution steeped in amateur era structure that sees the plethora of clubs calling the shots, but that would be like asking Father Christmas for World Peace.

Instead, then, a radical new look at how things are run between the white lines would not be a bad start for the Cape. As was to be the case under Eddie Jones.

Under Allister Coetzee, things had become solid instead of spectacular, defensive instead of attacking, with the mind-set seemingly about keeping the opposition score down rather than going out to score more points than them.

In effect, just a smidgen comfortable, especially amongst certain senior players, with that seemingly the trend since Peter de Villiers basically handed over the reins to the senior players in his Springbok side.

Throw in the fact that we are basically begging players to stay in the country, finding ways to raise funds in order to meet salaries offered overseas, or conjuring up contracts that allow players earn top up cash in the off-season instead of resting, and the culture we are creating is one that plays entirely to the players.

I am all for leadership groups and some form of collaboration between player and management, but there has to be one boss who makes the final call – the coach.

Enter the former All Black, Western Force and Lions boss. A man who takes no poo! Hence his reputation for clashing with players. A disruptor!

I have no doubt in my mind that the future of the Stormers lies in the hands of Robbie Fleck and John Dobson, who I think would work in unison with Director of Rugby Gert Smal. And they could probably do the job now.

But with Mitchell available, the union in need of a shakeup, Fleck and Dobson just a smidgen green at the moment, and the recent debacle that saw Jones chasing Pounds instead of Table Top Mountain, now seems the perfect time for an intervention of sorts. It’s Mitchell time.

And when he implodes, because he will implode at some stage, the then more experienced Dobson and Fleck will be at the ready to take over.


  1. It’s a fine balance between uncompromising coach and dictator. Obviously nobody wants unhappy players, but anyone who has played or coached knows how a pumped and driven team can perform above themselves.

    Big thing made of JM’s man-management, but the Heyneke Meyer “everybody is a big happy family raking in the money and dishing up sh1t for the fans” is arguably worse.

    We’ve seen a swing from the days of Bok teams who drop five players after a loss (and good riddance), but there needs to come a time where senior players are accountable for performances and earn the right to be called such.

  2. Yes Mitchell is one of those coaches which you either like or not, he wont grow on if you dont, so if you dont like him either deal with it or pack your bags.

    i agree with you this leadership core is nonsense and the fact that everything is structured so players can make money is also BS.

    That’s what made Kitch an good coach, i Quote “you can call Mr.. or coach”, meaning I am your boss and not your mate. Players want to ride the wave of them being professionals and Rugby being their job, guess what in the work place one guy is the boss and the rest follows his orders, not the other way around.

    Anyway, it will not only have to players who will need to take concrete pills, but also the WP management.

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