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Mitchell opts for England ahead of Chiefs

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Thursday, November 14, 2019    Getty Images

Mitchell, instead, decided to continue to focus on the commitment he has to England after their reaching the Rugby World Cup final in Japan and after beating the All Blacks 19-7 in their semifinal.

The Chiefs offered Mitchell a place as Gatland's assistant with the chance to step into the head coaching role while Gatland spent 2021 coaching the British & Irish Lions on their South African tour.

"When I got the opportunity for the two years to stay with England there was also an opportunity to go back home, back to New Zealand, as well," Mitchell told English media.

"It was with the Chiefs. With Gats having to do the Lions as well in that sabbatical they were going to need a head coach. It was going to be more of an assistant role but moving into the head coach for that particular window.

"Emotionally it felt really good but sitting down with my family and looking through it, I've made the right decision at this time in my career," he said.

Having spoken with his children he felt it was more to stay with England's team of the moment and coach Eddie Jones.

"For me it's important to continue this association and look to get better and make sure our team and players get better as well," he said.

Mitchell said the Chiefs offer was enticing and he said he hadn't ruled out the idea of one day returning to the Waikato.

"It is tempting but I also think I can still do it at some point in my life.

"That doesn't necessarily need to be a head coach, it could be supporting a younger coach that's going to need that kind of experience.

"It's a tough job heading coaching these days, they've got to balance a lot of balls," he said.