John Mitchell looking forward to Six Nations clash with old flatmate Warren Gatland - 'We're both Waikato boys'

England defence coach John Mitchell knows the enemy a little bit better than most heading into this weekend's Six Nations clash with Wales.

After all, he and Wales coach Warren Gatland used to be flatmates.

The two European nations will clash this weekend but there will be a distinct Kiwi flavour in the mix with Mitchell and Gatland dueling in a battle of wits.

It's a friendly rivalry that stems right back to their Hamilton days when they faced off in local derbies between Hamilton Old Boys and Fraser Tech.

"Gats and I go way back," Mitchell said.

"We used to flat together and we obviously debuted for Waikato around a similar time and went on to play a long time together.

"I really enjoyed his company as a friend and as a player and he was a guy that was very good at giving advice, certainly to myself, but it was endearing to others as well.

"He's very good at managing people and I think that's carried on to his coaching career."

Now the pair will face off at Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday morning NZT, but Mitchell insists there's a bigger storyline than that belonging to them.

"We're both Waikato boys and at the end of the day, he'd be the first to say it's not really about us - it's about Wales and England.

"When we do catch up, it's nice to just have a beer and reflect on where people are at and what people are doing."

England's defence coach says he'll enjoy a post-match beer with his old friend too. Source: 1 NEWS

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