Australian Rugby
Mitchell excited by Wallabies trial
October 5, 2009
Australia wing Drew Mitchell passes the ball during training at Auckland Grammar School, Auckland, New Zealand, July 16, 2009
Drew Mitchell is excited by the upcoming Wallabies trial match © Getty Images

Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell is expecting Test-match intensity as Robbie Deans' extended squad goes head-to-head in a trial match in Sydney.

After a proposed 'probables v possibles' match was undone by pay demands, Deans has settled for dividing his 43-man squad in to two teams for the game at St. Ignatius College, with the party set to be trimmed to 35 following the contest. The game is open to the public, with donations being collected to aid the Pacific Islands Tsunami Relief fund.

The Wallabies will attempt a Grand Slam tour of the northern hemisphere in November, beginning with an appointment with England at Twickenham on November 7. First-up however is a Tokyo showdown with the All Blacks on October 31.

"It should be good and if the last two days of training are any indication it's going to be pretty confrontational," Mitchell said. "The last two training days have probably been the most competitive we've had in the last two seasons so the boys are pretty much ready to rip into each other and I guess put their foot forward to possible selection for this spring tour.

"It's going to be a fantastic session out there and if anyone's in the area it wouldn't be too bad a one to come down and watch."

Mitchell admitted that exchanges between the two rival squads had been frosty since their division.

"Not so much sledging it's more just silence at the moment," he said. "You find that the guys who you're opposing on Thursday might just walk past and give you a bit of a glance and won't say too much.

"Although we're a squad at the moment we're two teams essentially, we're training together as two teams and looking to go at each other on Thursday."

Mitchell could be up against Reds flyer Digby Ioane, who has recently returned from shoulder surgery. He has missed the entire of the Wallabies' Test season after impressing during the Super 14 and while he is not certain to feature in the game he has returned to training.

"It's been 20 weeks (since surgery) and I'm just glad to be out there running again," said Ioane, who admits he's not guaranteed to be fit for the tour opener against the All Blacks in Tokyo on October 31. "Last week I did my first contact and everything's looking good but I haven't actually done full contact 100% so I've got a long way to go but I've got to race time. "I'm just going to leave it to the doctors and see what happens if I can do contact or not - I wouldn't mind doing contact but I've got to look after myself as well."

Meanwhile, skipper Stirling Mortlock, Peter Hynes, Phil Waugh, Rocky Elsom, Rob Horne, Sekope Kepu, Ben Robinson, Nick Cummins and James Horwill are all in some doubt for the trial match after sitting out training.


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