Australian rugby
Drew Mitchell faces Lions fitness battle
ESPN Staff
April 25, 2013
Australia winger Drew Mitchell, Wallabies training camp, Sydney, Australia, July 24, 2012
Drew Mitchell is pondering the thought that he has played his last Test for Australia © PA Photos

Drew Mitchell must overcome a tough fitness battle if he is to play for Australia against the British & Irish Lions after being ruled out of Super Rugby action for a month with a hamstring injury.

Mitchell, who announced recently that he was leaving New South Wales Waratahs for Toulon at the end of the 2013 Super Rugby season, having signed a two-year deal to join former Wallabies team-mate Matt Giteau at the French Top 14 powerhouse, tore the hamstring in his right leg early in the the Tahs' round-10 victory over the Chiefs.

The winger did not travel with the Waratahs to South Africa, where New South Wales play the Bulls and Southern Kings, and he learned on Wednesday that he would miss four weeks of rugby. That timeframe means Mitchell will be available to play again in Super Rugby, and also for the Waratahs against the Lions, but he will have little time to earn a Wallabies berth for the three-Test series in June and July.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is due to name the first 25 players in his squad in late May, and Mitchell may have to prove his worth when the Waratahs play Western Force on June 9, the penultimate round of Super Rugby matches for Australia's teams, after which the coach will add six names to his squad to face the Lions.

Russell Barwick and Greg Growden discuss the big issues in Australian rugby
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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