WESTERN Force rugby coach John Mitchell is stepping in to the Lions' den, quite literally.
The recently appointed Gauteng Lions coach for the 2010 Currie Cup season that gets under way on July 9 is anxious to get down to work with a team that will be low on confidence after they were beaten by every side in this year's Super 14.
It's a record the boys in red and white will be anxious to forget and what better way than with a win first up when they take on the Leopards in Potchefstroom.
Speaking to the media yesterday at the Lions headquarters in Doornfontein, Mitchell was upbeat about the task ahead.
"The Currie Cup is a totally different competition to Super 14. it's the premier rugby competition in South Africa," said the coach.
"We need to take stock of where the players are this week and find out why they didn't perform to their potential.
"It's a fresh start for everyone and the players mustn't lose faith in their own ability," Mitchell said.
Mitchell has an impressive coaching history.
At one stage he was the assistant coach to Clive Woodward at England and for the 2003 World Cup he was coach of the All Blacks.
At his side in a coaching role at the Lions will be fellow New Zealander Carlos Spencer.
"Carlos has been a wonderful footballer and has a lot of knowledge he can pass on to the young players," said Mitchell.
"It will be great working with him."
The coach hasn't wasted any time when it comes down to training. He only arrived in the country on Saturday morning but has already had his first training session with the Lions players, and is impressed with what he has seen.
"We've just had a backs session and the guys worked hard and were impressive.
"The next four weeks will involve a lot of conditioning and skills development.
"The work ethic needs to come from within. There's no place for shortcuts," the coach added.