Johannesburg - Lions head coach John Mitchell has returned to work at the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) after four months - and is looking forward to working at the union.
The former All Blacks player and coach said he had learnt a lot during his time away.
"I am excited about being back at the Lions and learnt a lot during the time I was away," Mitchell said in a GLRU statement on Tuesday.
"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."
Mitchell praised stand-in head coach Johan Ackermann and his management team for the work they did during the season.
"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 pre-season began on Monday with all players undergoing testing, as team management continued to plan for the coming season.
Mitchell was confident the players would be well prepared for the season ahead.
"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," Mitchell said.
"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."