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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 November, 2003, 10:29 GMT
Mitchell on the offensive
John Mitchell
Mitchell is keen to hold onto his job
All Blacks coach John Mitchell has pledged to fight for his job following New Zealand's disappointing World Cup.

He also criticised the New Zealand Rugby Union's attitude towards him as "hard to swallow".

The NZRU have told Mitchell he must re-apply for his job following his team's semi-final loss to Australia.

In a rare interview on New Zealand TV, Mitchell said: "I'm now in a contest and I have to go in and prove that I want to coach the All Blacks."

Other applications for his post have been invited, with former Wales and Lions coach Graham Henry tipped as a likely successor.

NZRU chief executive Chris Moller has criticised Mitchell over his relationships with the media and union staff, and his dealings with sponsors.

But Mitchell told Television New Zealand's Sunday programme: "There are perceptions I don't agree with, and it's important for people to understand the real John Mitchell.

"I'm not arrogant and if I'm rude, I apologise but I just have a passion for this team. In hindsight maybe I underestimated the level of communication which is necessary."

Mitchell denied the All Blacks had been out-thought by the Wallabies in their semifinal 22-10 loss.

"I don't think we were out-thought and outcoached," he said.

"We had our particular way we wanted to play and we just weren't able to execute. It was just a bad day at the office. It was just like waking up from a nightmare."

The interview was seen as the start of a campaign by Mitchell aimed at winning public support for his re-appointment.

Links to more New Zealand stories


Mitchell offered French post
24 Nov 03  |  New Zealand
Henry eyes All Blacks job
21 Nov 03  |  New Zealand
Brooke defends Mitchell
18 Nov 03  |  New Zealand
All Blacks back coach Mitchell
17 Nov 03  |  New Zealand

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