Australia wing Drew Mitchell believes playing in European rugby’s premier club competition has been the key to taking the World Cup by storm.
The 31-year-old looked as though his international career was coming to a halt two years ago after failing to play a Test match in 2013.
But he has been reinvigorated since switching to Top 14 side Toulon and is now Australia’s all-time leading try scorer in Rugby World Cup history.
A star turn against the All Blacks at Twickenham in Saturday’s final would be the cherry on top of the icing on the cake.
And Mitchell believes playing in the European Champions Trophy, formerly the Heineken Cup, has stood him in great stead.
“I’ve got a lot of experience now than compared to what I did have in tournament rugby, because of my involvement in the Heineken Cup with Toulon,” said Mitchell.
“I guess the pressures of that – the pool stages and then the elimination stages – it’s about being able to play in bigger games.
“I was not fortunate enough in my Super Rugby career to play in that type of environment, so I’ve gained that knowledge and belief now to go out in bigger games and contribute to my team.”
Though Mitchell has already become the Wallabies leading try-scorer at World Cups, he can equal the overall competition record of 15 – held by Jonah Lomu and South Africa’s Bryan Habana – with another score in the showpiece.
And Mitchell backs himself to do just that, as Australia bid to stop their Antipodean rivals from becoming the first side in the competition’s history to retain the Webb Ellis Trophy.
“We’ve got every confidence we can apply some pressure on the All Blacks,” he added.
“Both teams have got that intent to go out there and play. It’s going to come from a good foundation from the boys up front and some good decisions from guys in tighter.
“And if we have an opportunity to finish that’s part of our role, to go out there and get across the line.”
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