Mitchell has taken the shock decision to quit as England's defence coach

Credit: Bob Bradford

England assistant coach John Mitchell has made the shock decision to quit Eddie Jones’ setup to join Wasps. 

Mitchell was the longest-serving member of Jones’ backroom team, having been in charge of England’s defence since September 2018. But the former New Zealand head coach has decided to leave Twickenham to take up a new role in charge of Wasps’ attack under Director of Rugby Lee Blackett, although the Premiership club the 57-year-old will ‘assist on a number of levels’.

Mitchell’s decision leaves Jones with just one full-time assistant with little more than two years until the World Cup. 

Attack coach Simon Amor was relieved of his duties after England’s hugely-disappointing fifth-placed finish in the Six Nations, with skills coach Jason Ryles deciding not to take up his post due to Covid-19 concerns over moving from Australia.

Blackett said: “We are thrilled to add John to the coaching group for this season. He brings a wealth of knowledge and will only improve our playing department. 

“Once we knew John was available, we prioritised getting him back to Wasps. 

“Finding somebody of John’s calibre at both an international and domestic level is rare. He fits the profile we have been looking for, adding to our talented group of coaches. 

“John’s primary role will be to lead the attack, but his breadth of top-level experience will see him assist on a number of levels. He understands Wasps having worked here before and his passion for the club and improving our players shone through from the start. 

“The support from the board in making this happen demonstrates the ambition of this club.”

More to follow.