Rugby Union

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Mitchell in the mix for Boks seat on plane

Drew Mitchell is expected to be declared fit today for the Waratahs' two-match tour of South Africa, but whether he goes will be determined by what happens during tonight's game against the Bulls. Waratahs officials believe Mitchell will pass a fitness test this morning. He has not played this season due to an ankle injury that, for a time, looked like it might end his career. It does not mean the Test winger will definitely be on the Saturday morning plane. That decision will also depend on whether the team has any injuries tonight. If several midfield backs get hurt, Mitchell could still miss out as only 26 players can go on tour - and the club may instead have to pick backup options as cover.


The Waratahs have at least two big signings to make - one forward, one back - for 2013, but it depends on whether certain players stay and the eventual size of the salary cap. The Waratahs are anticipating a $4.1 million salary cap, and are not expecting much from third-party deals - with club officials arguing that ''Sydney is not a third-party town''. They also continue to look overseas, with a front-rower a priority as the Reds are interested in their prop Jeremy Tilse. And despite some nonsensical denials a few weeks ago, at least five notable Waratahs are still scheduled to depart at the end of the season.


The Wallabies are concerned about confronting Scotland and Wales next month after just a few training sessions. Wales are taking their tour extremely seriously, playing a warm-up game against the Barbarians in Cardiff, and sending 15 players out nine days early to get acclimatised in Brisbane. The only big gun missing will be centre Jamie Roberts.



Last week's article on former ARU chief executive Bruce Hayman complaining about the lunch service at the NSW Rugby Union life members gathering at the Waratahs-Crusaders match led to a series of blame-game spot fires. Waratahs chief executive Jason Allen has reacted. ''We don't run the catering at the ground,'' he said. ''We don't manage the car parking, the food or the beverage. But we want to create an environment that is great for everyone.'' One positive from all the differences of opinion is that it's odds-on the next NSWRU life members lunch or dinner will be a far happier and better organised affair.


It's a real family affair at Randwick. The surname Ella has again bobbed up in the Randwick team lists, with Daniel, son of Glen, appearing in the lower grades. Also appearing for the Galloping Greens this season are David Wright - son of Ken; Tim Wright - son of Allan; Scott Kennedy - son of Ian; Stephen Casamento - son of Dr Joe; Tim Murray - son of Mick; and Matthew Mackay - brother of Shaun and son of John.


The Brumbies have implemented pre-match jersey presentations this season, and coach Jake White has started a capping system - where former players get caps with their playing number. Cap No.1 has gone to Patricio Noriega, as he was the loose-head prop in the Brumbies first game in 1996. He made the jersey presentation before the win over the Waratahs. Noriega is now two from two - also doing the presentation before the Wallabies beat the Springboks in Bloemfontein two years ago.


■ Who is the Super Rugby coach who was supposed to meet three potential recruits from another province the morning after a recent match, but did not turn up? That's three potential signatures he won't be getting.

■ An ARU official was nabbed on television eating a meat pie when he was supposed to be on a diet.

■ The provincial official known as ''Radio'', because of his big mouth, cannot stop getting into trouble, with the latest problem involving him being asked to pay half of an unpaid nightclub bill - left behind by a player. Details of his involvement in a steamy hotel incident are also starting to emerge.

■ We hear the Brumbies are interested in Sydney University coach Todd Louden.

■ Was that really Jai Ayoub, the Sydney grade player recently embroiled in the NRL betting scandal, who scored 11 points for Croatia in their 28-26 loss to Lithuania last weekend in Vilnius?