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Dear John, you are Mister Right ...

Opinion
Last week, former All Blacks coach John Mitchell was unveiled as the new executive of rugby at the Blue Bulls in the hope that he can resuscitate the ailing team.

Many have asked if it is a good move by the Blue Bulls Company to bring such a controversial figure into their business and whether he is the right man to turn things around.

I guess all will be revealed once Mitchell officially starts in July and the Currie Cup will be the first competition where we can judge him by.

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John Mitchell is the Director of Rugby at the Bulls. He takes over from Nollis Marais, who has been struggling at Super Rugby level this season. Picture: Reuters

In fact, I believe that Mitchell’s controversial past is what is needed to shake up the Bulls - not only their players but some of their administrators as well.

There are far too many people at Loftus Versfeld who have become comfortable and run the place as if it is their own kraal and Mitchell is sure to change things around.

Wherever Mitchell has gone, controversy has followed him and I believe him when he says he is a changed man.

But there mustn’t be too much change because the Bulls are in dire need of a ruthless leader who is all about action and not just talk.

Mitchell is that man, he doesn’t mess around when there is a job to be done nor does he mince his words on what he thinks about individuals.

I guess that is what people don’t like to hear: The truth.

It’s never nice to hear but it is necessary if there is any progress to be made.

Players need to hear the truth for them to grow and improve - for their own good and that of the team.

Nollis Marais Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

They must not be fed untruths and kept in the team for the sake of appeasing certain people’s narrow agendas.

There are passengers in the Bulls squad and the sooner they are told that they aren’t good enough to contribute to a championship side, the better it will be for everyone involved.

The same applies to certain members of management, who are passengers and add no value to the system in terms of tactical and technical know how.

The good thing about Mitchell’s brutal honesty is that it is not personal and is always geared for the advancement of the team.

I see where the Lions are today and wonder how much further they would be had Mitchell stayed there and not faced a player revolt, allegedly because of the manner in which he handled matters with players.

Photo: Anton Geyser, BackpagePix

It was Mitchell who laid the foundation for where the Lions are today and, fortunately, current coach Johan Ackermann was left to only make some minor tweaks to a blueprint that brought them domestic success and could possibly bring them success in Super Rugby as well.

The Bulls need that blueprint if they are to relive the glory days and become a super power in Super Rugby again.

I have no doubt that Mitchell is the right man for the job and, not only does he say the right things, he is known to take action on his words.

I joked with a colleague from the Afrikaans media that the Bulls players are going to run like they have never run before in their lives.

His response to me was classic but true: “Some of them are also going to run away from Loftus.”

The Star

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