It's mate against mate for Brayden Mitchell
Brayden Mitchell is more excited than daunted about the prospective of coming face-to-face with some of his best mates at Rugby Park in Invercargill on Friday night.
The 24-year-old played 21 games for Southland before joining Waikato this year for the 2014 national provincial championship.
He will line up on Friday night for his new team against his old team in a showdown which is likely to see a few barbs fired his way.
It is a fixture the Star rugby club member has had one eye on since he moved north this year.
"I have been looking forward to it, I suppose. It will be heaps of fun playing against a few good mates I know down there," he said.
"I'm not going to shy away from it or anything, I think it's going to be awesome."
Mitchell said there hasn't been any banter fired his way yet but expected plenty on Friday night.
"They haven't been throwing too much my way but I could imagine there might be a few fists come my way cheekily on Friday night."
The former Southland Boys' High School pupil has started in all of Waikato's three games this season and said he is happy so far with his move north.
Mitchell said he felt his rugby development had stalled a touch and he wanted a fresh start, so took up an offer from Waikato.
"I'm loving it up here at the moment, it's been a good change. It's a good team environment, great bunch of boys and I'm enjoying getting plenty of game time. I'm getting about 60 minutes each game and I'm injury-free - I hope it continues."
Mitchell's Waikato team beat Northland before losing the Ranfurly Shield to Otago and then being thumped 47-10 by Canterbury.
They will go head-to-head with a Southland team which is zero and three after three outings and also desperate for a win.
Mitchell knows there is plenty riding on it.
"We've talked about staying positive and taking good things out of the games we've played. When we play well we know we can do some good things, but we also know Southland will be a hard team to beat down there. especially because they haven't won a game. It will make them even tougher, I reckon."
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