Lions head coach John Mitchell has returned to work with the Golden Lions following a four month period of absence and says he is looking forward to working with the Union.
The Lions have released a statement saying that Mitchell is in the process of settling back in at the Lions and planning ahead for the 2013 season which they will use to regain their Super Rugby status.
The Lions were relegated from Super Rugby as they were the last placed South African Super Rugby team and replaced by the Southern Kings.
"I am excited about being back at the Lions and learnt a lot during the time I was away. I am looking forward to working with the many new faces in the team and I am sure they will bring a lot of energy to our set-up," he said.
Mitchell praised the work stand-in head coach Johan Ackermann and his management staff did under adverse circumstances.
"Coach Ackermann and the management did a superb job and, at the moment, I am returning to consult with them, make future plans and understand their previous execution," said Mitchell.
The Lions got their pre-season under way on Monday morning, where all players underwent various forms of testing and team management continued to plan for the upcoming season.
Mitchell is confident the players will be well prepared for the season ahead and will strive to meet their ultimate goal of a Super Rugby return in 2014.
"Our main goal is to secure re-entry into the Super Rugby competition but we have two other objectives " team development and a strong performance in next year's Currie Cup.
"In order to move forward you must look forward and we are in the process of laying down the foundations we need in order to achieve our objectives."