• Mitchell initially likely to be given the title of consultant
Bryan Redpath says he would have "no issues" with working alongside the former All Blacks coach John Mitchell at struggling Sale for the rest of the season, even though that was certainly not what he envisaged when he left Gloucester to take over as the Sharks director of rugby in such controversial circumstances in the spring.
Mitchell, who played for and coached Sale in the 90s before moving on to Clive Woodward's England staff and then returning home to New Zealand, attended the club's first win of the season in the Heineken Cup against Cardiff on Sunday, and is expected to accompany them again for this weekend's trip to Montpellier.
He is initially likely to be given the title of consultant when his return is confirmed – it is currently being delayed by a legal dispute with the Golden Lions, the South African Super Rugby franchise who suspended him in June following complaints about his famously abrasive coaching style from their players.
Given Mitchell's pedigree and personality, it is hard to imagine him acting as an assistant to Redpath. But the former Scotland scrum-half insists that the precise details of the pecking order are now "bloody irrelevant" as Sale face a long hard winter battling to avoid relegation from the Premiership.
"The big thing now is about the club," Redpath said at Sale's training base, a friendlier and more welcoming version of the adjoining Carrington fortresses of Manchester's Premier League football giants United, on Wednesday. "It's about us getting back on track and winning some games, and we can't worry about reputations at the moment. Will that change over the next few months? Well, I'll worry about that over the next few months.
"Obviously there's lots of chat about John and he's got a wealth of experience and if it does get sorted out we'll tap into that as much as possible. The rugby club's bigger than me. So I've got to make sure I do my end of the bargain and prepare the players properly to perform, and not get too bogged down with who potentially will be added to the staff and the squad."
Redpath said he has been assured by Steve Diamond, the former hooker who is now Sale's chief executive but has returned to the coaching staff for the second time in nine months after sacking first Tony Hanks as head coach and more recently Steve Scott as forwards coach, that his role "wouldn't change in any way. My role will be supported with someone else that allows Steve to go back into the commercial and marketing element of the club. Every coach needs somebody there he can bounce stuff off – he's [Mitchell] been through a lot himself, good or bad. At this present moment we've got to knuckle down and concentrate on doing a job and our egos have got to be put to one side and get on with the coaching and working."
Redpath hinted that Danny Cipriani may again have to be content with a place on the replacements' bench, despite declaring his desire to return to the starting team after leading the second-half fightback against Cardiff.
"Credit to Danny, he came on and created one of the opportunities for himself to score," added the rugby director. "But the whole team effort after that defensively got stronger and stronger as well, which was more pleasing.
"Everyone has to earn the right. Nick Macleod played pretty well against Bath, he did pretty well against Leicester when Danny was ill so there was no reason to change before the Cardiff game. Nick started exceptionally well in the first 20 minutes against Cardiff, then Danny came on and created another couple. It's good competition for the position. Danny's a talented player, so if he benefits us playing every week he will, as long as everyone sticks to the right thing. If not and Nick is the man, I'm sure they will support each other for the cause of the club – it's not for the cause of the individual."