Mitchell returns ahead of Boks test
July 19, 2010
Drew Mitchell didn't have to wait long to return to the Australian camp © Getty Images
Axed Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell has been recalled to the squad alongside Cameron Shepherd for their opening Tri-Nations test against South Africa on Saturday.
Mitchell was somewhat surprisingly dropped by Robbie Deans after failing to impress in the June Tests but is now back in contention as Australia's depth in the back-three is examined.
Peter Hynes and Digby Ioane have been ruled out of the Brisbane clash due to injury, meaning one of Shepherd and Mitchell will likely start on one wing with Adam Ashley-Cooper on the other and James O'Connor or Kurtley Beale at fullback.
Mitchell said he was looking at the positive of his selection rather than dwelling on his omission. ''Missing out first-up was disappointing and certainly not the type of news you want to get," he said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "But on the flipside, a positive came out of it, in that I got recalled into the squad. Still, it's not a new lesson for me. In 2005, I played 10 Tests and then the following season missed the 44-man Wallaby squad. I liken it a little bit to that. It just highlights the fact that there is so much competition at the moment, and a few performances not up to par can really cost you.''
Shepherd was an early favourite of Deans, featuring when the coach took over in 2008, but a run of serious injuries means he hasn't played for his country since that year. His size could prove an asset under Morne Steyn's monster kicks if selected.
Shepherd spoke of his delight to be back in the frame after his horror run on the treatment table: ''It's been a couple of tough years, but I don't really look back at the hardship I went through. It was a horrible time, but the future is positive. It's just exciting to be back in the mix. It's been a really tough road. I've had four operations on my ankle, and tore my quadriceps at the start of this year. I don't even like talking or thinking about it. I just want to concentrate on footy.''