Mitchell outshines Tuqiri amid Test push - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mitchell outshines Tuqiri amid Test push

By Adrian Warren 20/06/2009 06:49:31 PM Comments (0)

Drew Mitchell has outshone Wallabies wing rival Lote Tuqiri in a Sydney club rugby game, as both attempted to force their way back into the Test team.

Mitchell scored one of the five Randwick tries in their 36-15 win over West Harbour and played a prominent part in setting up three of the other four.

While the Wallabies were preparing to play in controlled conditions under a closed roof in Saturday night's Test against Italy at Etihad Stadium, several other Test players slogged it out on a muddy Coogee Oval.

Steady rain and slippery and heavy ground conditions were hardly the best showcase for Mitchell and West Harbour's Wallabies Tuqiri and outside centre Timana Tahu.

However, Mitchell who played in Australia's first two games of the season against the Barbarians and Italy, illuminated the drab conditions with several electrifying runs.

He frequently beat two or more defenders, whether it was down the wing or up the middle as he roamed with great effectiveness.

Tuqiri, who wasn't picked in either of Australia's first two games, tried to inject himself into the match.

With his team on the back foot for much of the game, most of Tuqiri's best work was done in his own half.

He made a few short strong runs down the wings and pulled off a potential try-saving tackle on Randwick's Brumbies winger Francis Fainfo.

Mitchell set up the opening try of the game by beating two defenders and playing the decisive pass and rounded off the proceedings by scoring the final five-pointer of the match.

"I haven't played in conditions like that for a long time," Mitchell said.

"I enjoyed playing today and I go away pretty happy with how things went."

He revealed there'd been a bit of friendly banter between Tuqiri, Tahu and himself heading into the game.

"We've been talking about it a little bit through the week because three of us knew we were not going to be playing against Italy," Mitchell said.

"So there was a little bit of niggle through the week at training, but it was always in good fun."

Tuqiri didn't want to talk to the media after the game.

Tahu admitted it had been a frustrating day for Tuqiri and himself.

"The conditions were very tough, there was mud patches everywhere," he said.

"The ground was heavy and it basically wasn't really a game where you could get free-flowing and get the ball out wide and challenge the other side, it was a bit frustrating at times."

Tuqiri, Tahu and Mitchell all played a full game, while other Wallabies on show included Randwick forwards, No.8 Stephen Hoiles and prop Sekope Kepu.

Tuqiri, who started on the wing but spent the last nine minutes at fullback, played for the first time against his cousin, winger Ratu Nasiganiyavi, who was a second-half replacement for Randwick.

Tahu said Mitchell played very well and was very dangerous.

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