Wallabies playing for everyone

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The Wallabies’ match day 23 will be thinking of everyone who’s contributed to their journey, when they run out on Saturday.

Games that are the pinnacle of any sporting competition can be as much about the names absent than those included.

The injuries, the cut-throat selection stories, poor timing, bad luck, every one has them.

There will be 23 Wallabies playing in a Rugby World Cup final on Saturday but winger Drew Mitchell said this match would be as much about those on the sidelines.

Thirty-one have played in games through this tournament and head coach Michael Cheika has made a point of ensuring every person feels a part of preparations, whether they are suited up or kitted up on game day.

Their competitive 15-on-15 training sessions ensure each week is intense and few ever feel entirely safe in their position, with those on the fringes buoyed by belief.

Mitchell has been one of the fortunate ones, grasping a starting opportunity when Rob Horne was injured against England and forcing the hand of coach Michael Cheika, with scintillating performances.

Injured duo Will Skelton and Wycliff Palu were brought back into camp on Friday, to be a part of the end of something for which they helped lay the foundations.

Mitchell said that was just one way to pay them back for their contributions.

“It was a really nice surprise this morning when we got down to breakfast and we saw big willy and Cliff down there,” he said.

“From the time it started since Cheik came in, there’s been a real sort of family feel about it.

“We’ve used a lot of players and a lot of players have had a tremendous input throughout this journey that we’re on.”

“There are some unfortunate guys that aren’t going to get you pull the jersey on tomorrow.

“It’s a hard position to be in to want that so much but to be told you won’t get that opportunity in a world cup final or even earlier in the pool stages.”

Mitchell paid tribute to those players who had continued to boost morale and play their roles in the team during the week.

“It’s a difficult one but the way these guys have taken that on board and still contributed tremendously to our preparation and the mood around the group (has been great),” he said.

“It’s very important that everyone’s sort of up.

“The way these guys have taken it on board and still contributed has been fantastic.

“It’s now up to us -the guys that are getting that opportunity to pull on the jersey to really represent those guys and do something that they can be proud of.”