Lions' investigation into Mitchell nearing end

Last updated 08:38 27/06/2012
John Mitchell
Reuters
ANOTHER EXIT? Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell should learn his fate with South Africa's Lions within days.

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The investigation into allegations surrounding Lions rugby coach John Mitchell could be completed by the end of this week, according to South African media.

The Johannesburg-based Super 15 franchise suspended the former All Blacks coach last Friday after a group of players complained about him to the franchise's president, Kevin de Klerk.

Local media have reported that the players became fed up with Mitchell's treatment of them. Mitchell, who guided the Lions to Currie Cup success last year, is known as a disciplinarian coach.

The New Zealander is expected to be presented with a host of the allegations against him, and asked to defend himself.

In a statement, de Klerk said: ''We are fortunate to be in a position where we have two experienced assistant coaches (Johan Ackermann and Carlos Spencer) who are able to step in during this period.

"Where necessary, and for the time being, Johan Ackermann (Lions forward coach), in conjunction with the management team, will make the necessary team related and technical decisions."

Mitchell told the SuperSport.com website the matter was now in the hands of his lawyers and he would only respond through them when they believed the time was right.

Supersport.com reported that de Klerk told a local radio station that the complaints were not criminal in nature, but about how Mitchell handled players.

Suspending Mitchell had not been a ''knee-jerk'' reaction, he insisted.

"We understand players are emotional and people work hard, but there are limits as well. There are certain lines that don't get crossed in every aspect of life,'' de Klerk told Radio 702.

Mitchell left the Perth-based Western Force in 2010 after problems with players.

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