Centurian Mitchell hoping for a milestone to remember


By HSBC Waratahs Media Unit

This weekend, HSBC Waratahs winger Drew Mitchell will become the 25th Australian to celebrate his Super Rugby century.

Mitchell will earn his 100th Super Rugby cap on Saturday evening at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.  Fittingly, he will earn it against his former Queensland team mates.

And as both teams prepare for their last match of the regular season, Mitchell knows that finals spot or no finals spot, neither team needs any additional motivation.  The fierce interstate rivalry between the HSBC Waratahs and Queensland Reds is one of Australian sport's oldest sporting rivalries and dates back 130 years. 

During that time, the two sides have met on 293 occasions.  By far the dominant side, NSW have recorded almost twice as many victories as their Queensland rivals, winning 187 matches to 94, with the scores tied 12 times.

But since Super Rugby began in 1996, the tables have turned. Two states have met on 18 occasions, most recently in Sydney in the opening round of the 2012 season when the visitors grabbed a last minute try to seal a closely-contested victory.  The win took Queensland's tally to 10, with NSW having taken the honours on seven occasions and the sides recording one draw.

For Mitchell, this weekend's match is as significant as any that have gone before. The Reds need a big win to keep their finals hopes alive and the HSBC Waratahs are searching for a performance that NSW can be proud of as they close out their season.

"It's not about us trying to spoil their year or anything like that," said Mitchell, who started his career back with the Reds before a spell at the Force.  "I had four years there (with Queensland) and I guess the irony is it's my 100th this weekend and I get to play where it started."

Completing his century is an achievement the 28-year-old will be proud of.  "It's taken me 16 or 17 months to get the last four but it was always something I wanted to achieve."  Having had his patience tested to make it this far, Mitchell is hoping he can celebrate his achievement with a victory on Saturday night.  "Their intent will be to go out there and score four tries and it could one of two ways,'' he said of the Reds' gameplan. 

"They could at their lethal best, which is a pretty dangerous prospect. They are obviously capable of scoring tries but I think there is a risk there.  If they are going out there intent on scoring tries, it might loosen up a little bit.

"The thing for us is we've just got to understand we don't have to change our game entirely - we're doing a lot of good things.

"We've got enough motivation at the moment to go out there and be up for this game, whether it's the Reds or not."

Providing Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore takes to the field for his 100th cap in Canberra on Saturday afternoon, Mitchell will become the 25th Australian Rugby player to achieve his Super Rugby century.  Of those that precede him, only six are still in active competition.  


Players to have appeared for Australian teams who are Super Rugby Centurions 1996-2012

*161      Nathan Sharpe                                  (Queensland Reds/Western Force)

*138      Stirling Mortlock                               (Brumbies/Melbourne Rebels)

136        George Gregan                                  (Brumbies)

136        Caleb Ralph                                        (Chiefs/Blues/Crusaders -- all NZ/Queensland Reds)

132        Phil Waugh                                        (NSW Waratahs)

131        Greg Somerville                                 (Crusaders -- NZ/Melbourne Rebels)

128        George Smith                                    (Brumbies)

123        Sean Hardman                                   (Queensland Reds)

121        Al Baxter                                             (NSW Waratahs)

116        Stephen Larkham                              (Brumbies)

113        Jeremy Paul                                       (Brumbies)

111        Matt Dunning                                    (NSW Waratahs/Western Force)

109        Chris Latham                                     (NSW Waratahs/Queensland Reds)

107        Chris Whitaker                                  (NSW Waratahs)

106        Brendan Cannon                               (NSW Waratahs/Queensland Reds/Western Force)

*106      Mark Gerrard                                    (NSW Waratahs/Brumbies/Melbourne Rebels)

106        Scott Staniforth                                 (NSW Waratahs/Western Force)

*104      Adam Freier                                       (Brumbies/NSW Waratahs/Melbourne Rebels)

104        Matt Giteau                                       (Brumbies/Western Force)

103        Mark Chisholm                                  (Brumbies)

*103      Nic Henderson                                   (Brumbies/Melbourne Rebels)

100        David Lyons                                       (NSW Waratahs)

100        Bill Young                                           (Brumbies)

This Weekend:

*99        Stephen Moore                                 (Queensland Res/Brumbies)

*99        Drew Mitchell                                    (Queensland Reds/Western Force/NSW Waratahs)

* denotes players still 'active' in the competition

Statistics provided by the ARU and compiled with the assistance of New Zealand Rugby Almanack co-editor Geoff Miller.







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