Mitchell upbeat despite 'Tahs departures - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mitchell upbeat despite 'Tahs departures

By Adrian Warren 28/07/2009 07:27:17 PM Comments (0)

Prize NSW rugby recruit Drew Mitchell is determined not to place pressure on himself to bolster a Waratahs backline rocked by the shock departures of fellow Wallabies backs Timana Tahu and Lote Tuqiri.

Outside back Mitchell, who is being looked at primarily as a fullback by NSW coach Chris Hickey, has agreed terms with the Australian and NSW Rugby Unions until the end of the 2011 campaign.

Queenslander Mitchell has moved across from the Perth-based Western Force to be closer to his family, the majority of whom reside in Queensland.

Mitchell expressed no reservations or second thoughts about joining NSW even though he had originally expected to be playing alongside Tahu and Tuqiri.

Hickey said the Waratahs' morale had not been affected by losing Tuqiri, who had his NSW and Australian rugby union contracts terminated, and Tahu, who has asked for a release from his contractual obligations to the same organisations.

"Certainly you miss players like that. They're a very important part and popular part of the playing group but they are things that have happened and we have to move on from there," Hickey said.

"When I was looking at the prospect over here having guys like Timana and Lote in the squad certainly appealed to me playing alongside those guys," Mitchell told reporters on Tuesday.

"I don't think anyone really could look into the future and predict what's happened, but I'm here and I've committed myself and I'm really looking forward to and excited about the prospect of next year."

Mitchell acknowledged with the departures of Tahu and Tuqiri there would be pressure and expectation on him to spark the Waratahs backline in their absence.

It (the pressure) is certainly going to be there regardless of whether I want it to be or not," Mitchell said.

"I'm coming here to try and play the best that I can and not only that, I like to play an attacking style of football.

"It (the pressure) is going to be there, but that's certainly not something I'll be putting on myself."

Hickey was confident Mitchell would respond positively to the pressure and expectation coming his way.

"Drew is the sort of player that can rise to that pressure," Hickey said.

Mitchell said he was quite happy to play at either fullback or on the wing depending on Hickey's requirements.

"Primarily we looked at Drew as a 15 and I think that he will bring some good attacking thrust with his game," Hickey said.

Yet to play in a Super semi-final with either Queensland or the Force, Mitchell was hoping to break that drought with the Waratahs, in addition to moving closer to his home state.

"Obviously here in Sydney is a lot closer than I have been in Perth, not only that I just felt it was a good time for a change and with NSW's results over the past five years they've always been strong and competitive," Mitchell said.

Hickey revealed the Waratahs were talking to former Australian U-21 centre Rory Sidey about joining NSW for next year.

A former Waratahs Academy player, Sidey is currently attached to Welsh club Gwent Dragons.

Hickey said if Sidey signed, it would leave three more spots to be filled on the Waratahs 2010 roster.

He said two of the spots would go to backs and the third to a second rower.

"We are still looking (for a lock) and we've got some interest from South Africa and New Zealand, so it's a matter of trying to work through negotiations with some of those players," Hickey said.

He said the NSWRU were still talking to a number of players and were confident of confirming some signings over the next couple of weeks.

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