Waratahs recall Drew Mitchell for Blues
March 22, 2013
Drew Mitchell has taken strides to address unfavourable perceptions © PA Photos
Drew Mitchell has been recalled to the New South Wales Waratahs starting line-up, the winger named to play against the Blues in Sydney on Sunday after he was dropped from the team that lost to the Cheetahs.
Mitchell takes the spot of Lachie Turner, who was dropped from the squad altogether, with Peter Betham retaining his position on the opposite wing.
Mitchell was omitted from the squad that played the Cheetahs in round five, and was replaced by Betham, while Turner made his first start of the year on the opposite flank, because coach Michael Cheika believed he was not pulling his weight as a senior player.
Mitchell said last week in an interview on Fox Sports' Rugby HQ that he did not agree with Cheika's assessment, but "he's made me aware of it this week, it's now something I can address".
Rob Horne, meanwhile, was promoted to start at inside centre instead of Berrick Barnes, who has been ruled out for six weeks with a thumb injury. Barnes had surgery this week to insert a wire into his dislocated right thumb, and will miss the majority of the Waratahs' campaign.
Israel Folau will start at fullback with Bernard Foley and Brendan McKibbin in the halves. Cheika has stuck with the same forward pack that went down to the Cheetahs, but he has made a few changes on the bench with re-signed prop Sekope Kepu returning alongside Jed Holloway to replace Jeremy Tilse and Lopeti Timani respectively.
Waratahs: Israel Folau; Peter Betham, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Drew Mitchell; Bernard Foley, Brendan McKibbin; Pat McCutcheon, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis (captain); Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani; Paddy Ryan, John Ulugia, Benn Robinson. Replacements: Luke Holmes, Sekope Kepu, Mitchell Chapman, Jed Holloway, Matt Lucas, Ben Volavola, Tom Kingston.
The Waratahs suffered another depressing loss, against the Cheetahs (video available only in Australia)