Will Skelton feels like he’s never played as well as he did in his first Test.
In Australia's 39-13 win over France, their most recent Test at Allianz Stadium, Skelton showed some silky skills, with a try on debut and a perfectly-time offload setting up an Israel Folau try.
He has played 13 Test matches since then, including a premature end to his Rugby World Cup, but the 204cm lock hasn’t ever felt back to his best after announcing himself on the international stage.
“I don’t think my form has been as good since then so let’s hope we can try and replicate that for this weekend,” he said.
“You try and improve your game every year but for me I think it’s maybe trying to do too much, skill-wise, trying to force too many passes or trying to force the offload or ruck-wise hitting too many dead rucks,” he said.
“Little tweaks in my game that I feel like I always need to improve on and I think as a professional that’s what you want to be, you always want to be better, you always want to be your best self.
“There’s nothing particular but just those little things that I needed to tweak through the years to try and be the best I can.”
Mere months ago, Skelton found himself donning the blue and yellow for Sydney Uni to rediscover his love for physicality, the greatest strength he needs.
“When you go back and play club rugby … it’s pure rugby and you turn up because you want to play with your mates and you see that in the players there who are still trying to crack it,” he said.
“I was that player a few years ago so I wanted to give my best for them, just like I do for my state and as I do for my country.”
Skelton has relished the fierce competition in the Wallabies lock department, an area that has changed every week this series.
“He’s a great coach where he can pick balance with the team and it’s a competitive sport and we often think about being competitive against the opposition but for us it’s the opposing locks that we have little battles with during training that personally I really love,” he said.
“I love ripping into guys like James Horwill, Rory Arnold because I know that those guys will come back at me and I know that he’ll have my back on the weekend.
“That’s something we’ve instilled in as soon as Cheik came into the coaching staff and that’s something we’ll continue to build on to have that competitive edge so we can really perform on the weekend.”