Four days out from the Triple Crown clash with the English at Principality Stadium, Pivac received an unsolicited pat on the back from the former All Blacks and USA head coach.
“I don’t know Wayne. He played for North Harbour when I was playing for Waikato, so we were actually adversaries as players. He was in a pretty good back row with Wayne Shelford and a guy called Kevin Schuler, both of who were All Blacks at the time,” said Mitchell.
“Wayne has been in the game a long time, you can clearly see his philosophy coming through of wanting to play the game at speed and move the ball. Like any good coach you’ve got to learn quickly at the highest level when you don’t get things right, and you’ve got to take your hat off to him because at the moment they’re playing really good rugby.
“It will require us to work really, really hard for each other as these games often go down to the wire. We’re really looking forward to it and showing what we’re capable of for the rest of the Six Nations.
“It’s one of those occasions that means a lot to both countries and sets of players. Both countries have had sustained success, but none of that really matters when it comes to playing against each other.”
Now in his second stint as part of the England coaching team, Mitchell has experienced the intensity of Wales v England matches before. He was also the captain of the Waikato team, that included Warren Gatland, that beat Wales in Hamilton on the 1988 tour to New Zealand.
“It’s one of the best rugby rivalries. I’ve been through a few of them now and they are extremely competitive.”