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New Zealand batsman Mitchell cheering on dad – and England – in Rugby World Cup

Daryl Mitchell’s father, John, is England’s defence coach.

Daryl Mitchell will be cheering on England against South Africa on Saturday (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Daryl Mitchell will be cheering on England against South Africa on Saturday (Anthony Devlin/PA)

By David Charlesworth, PA, Christchurch

New Zealand batsman Daryl Mitchell finds himself in the unusual position of cheering on England – but only in the Rugby World Cup final, as his father is part of Eddie Jones’ backroom staff.

Former All Blacks head coach John Mitchell now oversees England’s defence and is priming them for the showdown against South Africa in Yokohama this weekend.

Speaking after New Zealand’s defeat to England in the first Twenty20, Mitchell said: “I’ll be supporting the old man, it’s obviously an exciting time for the family and, yeah, hopefully he can win the World Cup.

“I keep in touch with him a fair bit. As you can imagine he’s absolutely fizzing for this weekend and hopefully they can get up.”

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John Mitchell has done fine work with England’s defence in the Rugby World Cup (Ben Birchall/PA)

Mitchell’s cameo of 30 not out from 17 balls was insufficient as England overhauled New Zealand’s 153 for five with seven wickets and nine balls to spare to draw first blood in the five-match series in Christchurch.

Asked whether his father would have been following the Black Caps, Mitchell replied: “I’d say he would be, yeah.

“He said he was going to try to give a few of the England boys a bit of stick when they’re sitting there watching it together. He loves his cricket so it’s quite cool.”

New Zealand do not have much time to lick their wounds, with the series resuming in Wellington on Sunday.

Mitchell added: “Obviously it’s not an ideal start, I think we were 10 off par and then with the ball a couple of the bad overs hurt us. But, all-in-all, not too far off.

“I guess you learn in professional sport that you just keep backing your skills. It’s only one game of cricket. I think we weren’t too far off at the end of the day, we’ll fine-tune a couple of things.

“I think England might have been a bit more match-fit having played two warm-up games so hopefully we’ll learn from this and be ready to go for the next one.”

PA

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