Spring Tour a big test for Drew Mitchell - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Spring Tour a big test for Drew Mitchell

By Darren Walton 15/10/2008 04:45:23 PM Comments (0)

Drew Mitchell is hoping spring proves the perfect time to rekindle his on-off relationship with the Wallabies.

Since bursting into the limelight with a try on his Test debut against the Springboks in 2005, Mitchell has endured a frustrating stop-start international career.

The dynamic fullback-winger ended 2005 with 10 caps, didn't play one in 2006 and added another 11 Tests to his CV last year only to suffer the immense disappointment of being benched for Australia's World Cup quarter-final loss to England despite scoring a tournament-high seven tries in the Wallabies' three pool games.

This season has been more of the same, with Mitchell starting just one Test and warming the bench for three others.

Little wonder the 24-year-old flyer is eager to nail down a permanent run-on position on the Wallabies' Spring Tour of Hong Kong and Europe.

"Since 2005, I've been in and out a fair bit," Mitchell said.

"I had a good year in 2005. Not at all in 2006 and then been sort of in and out of teams the last couple of years.

"So essentially now, I'd like to try and work my way in. I think that's the goal for everyone.

"It's not enough just being here in the squad. You want to play and challenge yourself as much as you possibly can."

With first-choice Lote Tuqiri still recovering from minor knee surgery, Mitchell is favoured to nab the vacant wing spot for Australia's fourth and final Bledisloe Cup clash with New Zealand on Saturday week.

While he is taking nothing for granted and remains wary of Digby Ioane and Lachie Turner, who are also in contention, Mitchell's impressive strike rate of 14 tries in 17 Test starts gives the Queensland-born Western Force star an obvious edge over his rivals.

"Playing the position I play in, be it wing or fullback, you're there to be able to finish," he said.

"Luckily enough, I've been on the end of some good play before and have been able to dot the ball over.

"It's not in your thinking that you need to keep the strike rate up, but it is always good to know that you've got the ball in hand when the try line opens up and that you can get over the line.

"I definitely wouldn't say I'm a shoo-in, but I would love to be able to get a go at that starting spot.

"It's a big, big occasion being the last Bledisloe.

"Over in Hong Kong it's going to be a big event and it's a Test match against New Zealand and they're the ones you want to play in."

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