Mitchell not resting on laurels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mitchell not resting on laurels

By Adrian Warren 22/04/2010 06:59:37 PM Comments (0)

In-form and with a stable line-up, the Waratahs' outside backs seem to have everything in their favour going into Saturday's Super rugby clash against the Brumbies.

But NSW speedster Drew Mitchell says his team would be well served to avoid writing off the Brumbies' misfiring backline.

Mitchell and the Waratahs other Wallabies winger Lachie Turner have given their team a genuine cutting edge, scoring six and four tries respectively.

Conversely, the Brumbies wingers named for Saturday's crucial ANZ Stadium clash, Pat McCabe and Adam Ashley-Cooper have each only crossed the opponents stripe once this season.

"Pat McCabe has been playing very well all year and he's very solid defensively and runs the ball very well," Mitchell told reporters on Thursday.

"Whether they pick Ashley-Cooper or anyone else on the other wing, all players are capable and we are certainly not going in thinking we have got the edge on them."

The Brumbies leading try scorer this year with four is prop Ben Alexander, but Mitchell stressed the Canberra-based side was still scoring out wide even if it wasn't their wingers getting across the line.

"As much as the stats show they are playing a tight sort of game, they are still getting some rewards when they go out wide and someone else is finishing the work that has been done inside," Mitchell said.

Although front rowers Benn Robinson (forearm) and Tatafu Polota-Nau (shoulder) will have their injuries reassessed on Friday, NSW coach Chris Hickey said Turner and centre Berrick Barnes (both sick) and centre Rob Horne (buttock) will all be right to face the Brumbies.

While NSW are set to name an unchanged backline for the fourth straight game, the Brumbies have again made multiple changes to their strike force.

Ashley-Cooper replaced Alfi Mafi on the wing and has moved from outside centre where Andrew Smith is in line to make his starting Super debut.

Halfback Josh Valentine returns in place of Patrick Phibbs.

"With backline play, the better you can keep combinations together and the more time players spend playing together, it helps the development of backline play a lot," Hickey said.

"If you are chopping and changing, it does make it a lot harder for cohesiveness and developing that backline play."

Hickey believed a victory on Saturday would act as a potential springboard to home semi-final for the Waratahs.

He thought a loss for the Brumbies would wrench their destiny out of their own hands heading into the last three rounds.

Hickey is all to familiar with that position, as the Waratahs finished just outside the top four last year despite winning their last three games in South Africa.

"It's not a good position to be in, it's far better off to be in control of your own destiny and that's why this game is important for us on Saturday," Hickey said.

"If we can come away with a win there, we feel that sets us up for the last three games and puts us in control of our destiny and perhaps the opportunity for a home semi."

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