Mitchell on the look out for Classics' water boy

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

The Classic Wallabies will take on Fiji at the Sydney 7s for the second year in a row on Sunday, but it's not the opposition that Drew Mitchell will be looking out for.

Former Wallabies back Matt Giteau will be running the water for the Classics, and Mitchell will be watching his back.

"I've got to watch more so for the water boy," he said.

"Matt Giteau will be doing that, so I hope he hasn't tampered with the water.

"Last year, Stephen Hoiles was given sour milk during the game I think, he was a bit stitched up."

Lote Tuqiri in action for the Classics last year. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe Classic Wallabies tried to get Giteau on the field, but his contractual obligations to Japanese club Suntory proved too much of an obstacle.

Mitchell retired last year but is already becoming a regular fixture in friendlies like this one, playing for the Classics last year, and named as the Waratahs' wildcard for next month's Brisbane Tens.

Off the field, Mitchell has become somewhat of a fresh voice in the rugby commentary sphere, stepping straight into television duties with FOX SPORTS.

Having only just finished up his playing career, Mitchell is conscious of both sides of the coin, acutely aware of how TV opinion affects those watching.

"Going into this season, I'll have some opportunities to call Super Rugby and I'm closer to these guys, so that will present a different challenge," he said.

"I just try not to get caught up being too fancy or making the big headline as opposed to just getting your opinion across.

"I was recently on the other side and I have had conversations about some issues I might've had - in the heat of the moment it happens, there's not any ill intent but sometimes those things happen.

"It's often the families are upset with things that are said, and I've just expressed that if there's anyone who thinks I've said something out of line, let's have a discussion, if I need to make a change, rather than not be able to learn from that experience.

 

"I'm very new to this, I'm learning - just like a rookie in a Super Rugby squad, need the feedback as well."

Drew Mitchell is heading into retirement after Monday's final. Photo: AFP While his addition to the on-screen scene has been welcomed by many fans, Mitchell said the less people were talking about him, the better it was.

"People I know have said it's good to see me on the show," he said.

"The more I do it I think in some ways it's almost if they're not talking about you it's better, because it's more about the game."

"It's like refs - the less we're talking about refs, the better they probably are.

"It's the same way as the commentator, you're just there to complement the game.

"If the competition is good and fierce and it's enthralling, you're just adding a few sound bites to it."

 

Mitchell will line up for the Classic Wallabies on Sunday night at 6:20pm AEDT, in a side that also includes Hoiles, former Wallabies hooker Adam Freier and World Cup winger Lote Tuqiri.

Radike Samo will headline the Fijian side.

 

SQUADS

Classic Wallabies team

Lote Tuqiri

Mark Gerrard

Drew Mitchell

Pete Miller

Stephen Hoiles

Wycliff Palu

Timana Tahu

Adam Freier

Tyrone Smith

Patrick Phibbs

Luke Burgess

Brendan Williams 

Coach: Morgan Turinui 

Fiji

Eparama Navale

Josateki Saumaisue

Lepani Nabuliwaqa

Marika Vunibaka

Meli Nakauta

Naibuka Tuiloa

Radike Samo

Sailosi Tagicakibau

Senirusi Rauqe

Setefano Cakau

Sikeli Qauqau

Vuli Tailasa 

Coach: Waisale Qalulu