Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Mitchell learns from fall

Drew Mitchell

Australia winger Drew Mitchell admits being dumped from the national squad last July was the wake-up call he needed.

The 26-year-old started on the wing for the Wallabies in three of their four June Tests against England (twice) and Ireland and was regarded as a certainty to make the 30-man Tri Nations squad. But he paid a heavy price for a couple of glaring defensive errors in Australia's 21-20 loss to England at ANZ Stadium, when coach Robbie Deans controversially axed him.

"I would hope that I won't need another wake-up call to that extent this year," Mitchell said.

Mitchell was eventually added to the squad and regained his starting spot for the first match against South Africa, leading to speculation Deans was simply playing mind games with his winger.

Whatever the coach's reasons, it had the desired effect as Mitchell cemented the left-wing position, playing 14 of a possible 15 Tests in 2010.

"In the first place obviously it's not something you want to hear but I guess in hindsight it probably was (justified)," Mitchell said of his Tri Nations snub.

"I think the Test against England (in Sydney) wasn't one of my better ones and then I played some better football throughout the Tri Nations and then again on the spring tour. I mean at the time you never like hearing it but in hindsight I guess it served its purpose."

And Mitchell is adamant he has learned his lesson.

He said: "It's never good getting left out of a squad but at the same time it reinforces just how much the spot you did hold meant to you.

"But you've just got to do the work and thankfully enough for me I was able to regain that spot and cherish those times after that."

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