One of the big names looking to down the Lions this summer could be lining up alongside a number of Britain and Ireland’s elite next season.
Wallaby wing Drew Mitchell is hoping to secure a Test spot in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney but he is also being heavily linked with a move to Irish giants Leinster.
Mitchell, who has 63 international caps to his name, is out of contract at the end of the Super Rugby season and Leinster boss Joe Schmidt admits the European Champions have made enquiries about his availability, even if they are attempting to play down the extent of their interest.
“You try to get a bit of a feel of players, who you think might fit the bill and he’s a left winger and a class player,” Schmidt told the Irish Examiner.
“We were just trying to find out if he was available, that’s all.
“I think at the moment, we’re just looking at options. We have been doing that for the last couple of months, since Isa (Nacewa) decided to go back to New Zealand.
“We will keep our eye on things and hopefully we will have a steer on things in the next few weeks.
“He's a player who hasn’t played too often in recent years through injury, so he’s probably flying below the radar slightly.
“Unfortunately, I think he scored at the weekend, so he’s probably back on the radar!”
Mitchell has spent much of the past two years on the sidelines with a reoccurring ankle problem and a torn hamstring but he is now fighting fit ahead of the three-Test series with the Lions that starts on June 22.
He isn’t yet back to the kind of form that made him one of the first names on the Wallaby team sheet prior to 2011, though, and was dropped by the Waratahs last month.
But the 29-year-old responded in fine fashion by scoring just seven minutes into his next appearance against the Blues on March 24 and he kept his starting spot for Sunday’s win over the Force.
Mitchell insists that getting back to his best is his only serious consideration right now, though, with the former Reds and Force star stating that contract negotiations will be dealt with once he has proved his injury worries are a thing of the past.
“There's not much point going to the negotiation table when your stocks are at an all-time low,'” said Mitchell.
“I just need to worry about trying to maintain a spot in the team and really start eradicating those mistakes in my game that turn what could have been a pretty good performance into one that's a little bit up and down.
“I'll shelve thoughts on next year until a little bit later.'”