John Mitchell back at the Lions

John Mitchell. (Gallo)

John Mitchell. (Gallo)

"The Golden Lions Rugby Union confirm they have met with John Mitchell and have discussed the relevant matters following his suspension earlier the season," the Golden Lions Rugby Union chief executive Ruben Moggee said in a statement.

"John will join the team when they return for their pre-season next week. There will be no further comment on the matter."

Mitchell was suspended in June after players gave a list of grievances to the union president, complaining of the training methods employed by the former All Black.

He met with Lions' management on Friday in a bid to return as coach of the relegated Super 15 outfit after his representatives said he had been cleared of misconduct.

Mitchell's Australia-based agents, Fordham Management, said on Thursday the uncompromising former New Zealand coach wanted to return to work with the Lions as soon as Friday.

Fordham Management said Mitchell had been exonerated and intended to return to his role with the Lions, South Africa's 2011 Currie Cup winner, despite him recently being appointed last week to the management board at English Premiership club Sale.

"John is elated with the outcome and feels that his position and reputation as an international coach has been fully vindicated," Fordham Management said.

While he was suspended, the Lions were relegated from the Super 15 in August by the South African Rugby Union after finishing bottom of the standings.

But the Lions said last month they were not advertising for a new coach, hinting that Mitchell could return to his job. – Sapa

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