John Mitchell denies leaving England role due to fall out with Eddie Jones
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London — John Mitchell said he left his role as England defence coach because he wanted to return to club rugby and due to the difficulties of working under Covid-19 restrictions, not because of a fall out with head coach Eddie Jones.
Mitchell, who is now working with English club Wasps, abruptly left the England job in July, just months after signing a contract extension.
Media reports said a rift opened when Jones denied Mitchell permission to watch son Daryl, an international cricketer for New Zealand, play for Middlesex on a day off.
"It was an easy decision actually in the end," Mitchell told British media. "I had a normal chat and at the end said, 'Eddie, I'm done mate, thanks very much. You've now got the opportunity to find someone else'."
"I think at 57 years of age I value things differently in my life, and just made a decision that I felt that I wanted to get out of international rugby at that point.
"You're sick of the bubbles, sick of the time away from home and I wanted to look at returning to club rugby."
Mitchell added that his sacking after failing to win the World Cup with the All Blacks in 2003 had made him less willing to prioritise trophies.
"If a gold medal was important to me and a World Cup, if that was my main priority, then maybe my decision would be different, but I value life more than just winning a World Cup," Mitchell said.
"My life has been exposed before in not winning a World Cup so I know exactly what that's like. I'm certainly not going to put myself in that situation again."