Monday, December 7, 2009

One on one with Drew Mitchell ( Six Nations hospitality)

In an exclusive interview, Planet Rugby chatted to Barbarians full-back and Wallaby wing Drew Mitchell about facing the All Blacks at Twickenham, holidays in Hawaii, Australia's future prospects, the Super 14 and those moustaches.

With just one game left in London before shipping off on holiday, we caught up with Mitchell before his final training session with the Barbarians.

Planet Rugby: G'day Drew, thanks for taking some time out from getting to know your new Barbarian team-mates to have a chat with us. How has the preparation for Saturday gone so far?

Drew Mitchell: It's been good. A lot of it has been just getting to know all the guys. That's what it's like when you play for the Barbarians but we're hoping to put a few things together and be competitive.

PR: I'm sure your expecting plenty of good service from a pair of quality centres (Jamie Roberts and Jaque Fourie).

DM: Ah yeah, well the whole back-line is looking pretty good. I mean you've got Fourie du Preez and Matt Giteau in the half-backs and you don't get much better than that. Bryan Habana and Joe Rokocoko on the wings are pretty good too!

PR: Even though you've been picked at full-back for Saturday's game, would it be fair to say you see your future with the Wallabies on the wing?

DM:Yeah, well I think that's what Robbie has in mind for me. I'm comfortable in both positions, in fact I rather enjoy playing at full-back sometimes. Often for Australia I play at full-back for parts of games anyway. Adam Ashley-Cooper and I have a really good understanding of each other so it normally works out quite well.

PR: With Zac Guildford and Ben Smith on the wings on Saturday, the All Blacks back three is a little short of Test experience on a big occasion like this - is that something you'll try to exploit?

DM: To be honest we haven't really had time to look at that sort of thing. We've only been together for week, so we've just been concentrating on our own stuff, getting to know each other and the calls... and some of the moves. Obviously we've spent some time on rugby specific aspects but mainly we've just been concentrating on our own game rather than the All Blacks.

PR: A lot has been said about some players from the southern hemisphere looking a little flat after a long season. You must be looking forward to your holiday?

DM: Yeah, I'm really looking forward to putting my feet up. We've been playing almost nonstop since January so a break will be very welcome. I've got a ticket booked straight to Hawaii from here so that should be good.

PR: Right, Movember is finally over, so here comes the toughest question of the year. Who had the best and worst 'taches?

DM: Oh, a couple of guys made a real effort. But I reckon Richard Graham - the Wallabies skills coach - had the best. It got really thick and bushy. As for the worst... I'd have to say definitely Adam Ashley Cooper. It was just sort of fluff and his lip, it wasn't really a moustache, it looked like two caterpillars lying on his lip.

PR:What about Australia's trip in general, you've had a couple of ups and downs. Do you think the tour can be called a success?

DM: I think so. There was a lot of talk about the Grand Slam and emulating the 1984 team which added some pressure. It was obviously disappointing to draw in Ireland and lose in a one-pointer to Scotland. But we won in England and Wales, where we played well, so yes.

PR: There were some reports of some tension in the Australia setup, were there any unhappy campers?

DM: Not that I'm aware of. You get pretty close to guys and lot happens when you're on tour for five or six weeks so you'd hear about it if something happened. I can honestly say I can't think of anyone who was unhappy.

PR: Sorry to have to do this to you, I'm sure you've been asked the same question a hundred times, but what happened in Scotland.

DM: Ah, it was just one of those days. We created plenty of opportunities. Rocky's try was disallowed, I went over off a forward pass...but in the end the Scots defended really well and scrambled back, so credit to them.

PR: Who were your toughest opponents in November? You lost to Scotland but it was more a case of you losing it than them winning - so who do reckon were the best?

DM: Ireland have a very well balanced team. Their results speak for themselves.

PR:You're joining up with the Waratahs when you head back home. They'll be your third Super 14 franchise in four years. Has it been a struggle to find stability?

DM: No, on the contrary. My dad was in the military so we moved around a lot so I'm used to that. If anything, moving away from Perth means I'll be closer to my friends and family, so I'll probably have some more stability.

PR: Do you think the team from Melbourne will be competitive in the Super 15?

DM: Yeah, I think they will. Obviously I think there will have to be some flexibility in terms of allowing overseas players to join them. Considering the depth of Australian rugby it's not realistic to expect them to fill up the team from only Australian players. So hopefully they can get some players from the northern hemisphere and elsewhere to join them. But they'll definitely have plenty of support. They really love their rugby in Melbourne so that shouldn't be a problem.

PR: What about the World Cup in 2011? A lot of people have said that all this Australian team needs is a few years together before they become world beaters. What do you reckon?

DM: Well I hope so. I think we've got the players for it but we're going to have to learn to close games out from winning situations. That's been our problem this year so we need to start getting into a habit of winning.

PR: Thanks mate, enjoy your game tomorrow and have a good holiday.

DM: Sure. No Worries, cheers.

- Drew Mitchell uses the King of Shaves Razor, the first British designed, engineered and manufactured razor in over 100 years.

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