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John with members of the women’s rugby team.

UKZN Rugby has scored a winning try by securing the services of former All Blacks coach John Mitchell as Head Coach. A meet and greet, attended by the media, rugby clubs, players, SRC and rugby alumni, was held recently to officially welcome Mitchell to the University. 

Addressing the gathering, UKZN Executive Director for Student Services, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, said: “Growing sport is one of the key strategic areas of our institution. We believe in investing in our students and the appointment of John Mitchell is part of that process. With John’s enormous wealth of knowledge and experience, we hope to reach previously unattainable heights and so move towards realising our vision of being the premier University of African Scholarship in all spheres of higher learning, including sport.”

Chairperson of the UKZN Rugby Club Mark Schulze indicated that Mitchell will be hosting a series of events in Durban and Pietermaritzburg and will be addressing potential rugby players and their parents. “John Mitchell will outline his vision and views on pursuing an education and participating in competitive rugby,” he added.

Whilst many South Africans seek the greener pastures of New Zealand, Mitchell has made Durban his home. He said that he is excited at being given the opportunity to work with young, vibrant students and is looking forward to going back to grassroots and giving back to the profession. He said it is important to produce excellent rugby players that are equipped to handle their careers during and after rugby.  “I am looking forward to finding the potential rugby stars and enjoy making a significant contribution to their development. My aim has always been to teach, inspire, and lead men and woman to become winners in life and sport” said Mitchell.

Members of staff and students alike should get out their cheerleading paraphernalia – it’s going to come in handy.