Mitchell makes long-awaited rugby return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mitchell makes long-awaited rugby return

Pete Smith 20/08/2011 08:00:16 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell says his return to rugby following a four-month absence with a broken ankle has done wonders for his confidence ahead of the World Cup.

Mitchell enjoyed a 20-minute cameo off the bench for Randwick against Sydney University in Saturday's Shute Shield match at Coogee Oval in front of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, to complete a miraculous recovery from a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula.

Mitchell, who was in career-best form before suffering the horrific injury in April while playing for the NSW Waratahs against the Queensland Reds, was considered a long shot to make it back in time for next month's World Cup.

But Deans included the experienced Mitchell, a veteran of 55 test appearances, in his 30-man squad announced on Thursday.

"I was pleased to get through unscathed and it gives me a great deal of confidence going forward," Mitchell said of his comeback match.

"You can train all you like but until you actually do it in a game situation, you never really know."

Mitchell, who saw little of the ball as Sydney University dominated the second half in a 65-17 win, admitted to being anxious ahead of his much-anticipated return.

"I didn't keep breakfast down and I have been nervous all day," he said.

"The ball was hard to come by, but I had a good run and the ankle is fine.

"My ankle is not so much of a concern as I've been running, so it is more just the conditioning."

The 27-year-old Mitchell is absolutely confident he will be fit to be compete in his second World Cup, where Australia open their campaign against Italy on September 11.

"The final hurdle is match fitness," he said.

"My condition has probably dropped off a bit, but I have worked pretty hard over the past few weeks."

Mitchell says he is now looking forward to playing for the Australian Barbarians against Canada next Friday on the Gold Coast, and being in camp ahead of the Wallabies' meeting with New Zealand next Saturday.

"I'm looking forward to getting back into the squad environment," he said.

"It is tough training on your own for an extended period. To get into the camp and feed off the enthusiasm that the boys will have this week going into Bledisloe will be great."

Meanwhile, Ben McCalman, named in the Wallabies squad as a utility forward, came on at halftime for Sydney University playing at openside flanker.

Fellow Wallaby Berrick Barnes also looked sharp, scoring two tries for Sydney Uni to go with a personal haul of 22 points.

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