Some opionions on the English club scene from an interested "outsider".
Taken from The Sporting Life webpage
MITCHELL WARNS CLUBS WILL FOLD
By Steven Baker, PA Sport
Sale boss John Mitchell has launched a scathing attack on
the state of English club rugby.
The England forwards coach, whose side are in the
semi-finals of the Tetley's Bitter Cup for the second year
in a row, has blasted the structure of the season and
fixture list - and warned clubs could go to the wall as a
But Mitchell has also criticised trigger-happy owners too
willing to fire coaches who fail to deliver the goods, and
complained that success in Premiership One is entirely
dependent on money. He conceded his club cannot
compete with the game's big spenders.
Mitchell's outburst comes during the most turbulent
season in the game's history in England, with players,
coaches and chairmen all unhappy at the number of
games teams are being forced to play.
The former All Black tourist said: "The only game we've
played at home in the last five weeks has been in the
Cheltenham and Gloucester Cup. We're playing away
from home all the time.
"Our clubs can't survive - I don't know how Sale survive,
to be honest. The structure needs to be looked at."
Alan Davies became the fourth former international coach
to leave a Premiership One club this season when his
term as Bristol boss ended at the weekend.
Mitchell believes coaches are under too much pressure to
deliver the goods straight away and club chiefs are
looking for short-term gains rather than long-term
benefits, citing sacked Leicester coach Bob Dwyer -
whose team beat Sale 55-15 in December - as an
"In a lot of ways Dwyer changed this year, maybe not to
the extent of winning trophies but they played some
wonderful rugby at times," said Mitchell.
"He's brought on a lot of good players and they killed us.
People need to have a sense of realism. There's only so
far you can go. But as a coach you're either coming in or
waiting to come in - and I'm happy in-between."
The Cheshire club are currently seventh in Allied Dunbar
Premiership One and their dreams of mounting a
championship challenge are long gone.
This season's title race has turned into a two-horse affair,
with affluent Saracens and Newcastle well ahead of the
Mitchell says the gulf between the haves and have nots in
the English club game is getting bigger all the time - and
he cannot see the situation improving.
"We can't win the League and the gap is widening in the
top division because it's not a level playing field," said
"Unless you've got the finances you can't buy a world XV
- against Saracens last week we had players from
Manchester, Ebbw Vale and Metrovick against
world-class players. I've got to sit back and think my
players are giving it their best shot.
"Clubs with finances are going to be the best teams in the
competition - that's a fact of life. We have to try and
create a level playing field, but at the moment that's how it
All the best