Fit again Skelton says he's a home boy

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A short-term stint with Aviva Premiership side Saracens helped Will Skelton kick off his 2017 season with a bang, but he says he’s not planning a permanent move to the UK.

Skelton, who is off-contract at the end of this season, had an interrupted 2016 season and a lack of game time on the Wallabies Spring Tour led to his release for the middle part of Saracens’ season, a short-term contract that has served him well.

In fact it proved so fruitful, speculation has swirled around the possibility of Skelton signing a longer-term deal with the club.

Skelton said he wasn’t planning on leaving Sydney anytime soon, though he has a greater appreciation of the Northern Hemisphere possibilities,.

“I’ve left it with my management but at the moment I’m happy at home,” he said.

“I guess that stint I had really opened my eyes to what there is up there.

“The whole goal was to come back and be in the blue jersey and eventually the gold jersey.

“I’m really loving my footy at the moment and trying to provide what I can for the team here.” - Will Skelton

Skelton said a 2019 World Cup would play a major role in his decision, particularly after injury cruelled his 2015 campaign.

“We’re building a (Wallabies) squad now where whoever’s called upon has to be ready and obviously that’s a massive goal for us, just trying to play some consistent footy.

“I’d love to be part of the squad.”

As for the possibility of regular off-season cameos in the UK, Skelton said he hoped he wouldn’t be needing the extra game time this time around.

“I think we’ll pick and choose our opportunities (to play overseas),” he said.

“Last year I didn’t play much footy at the Wallaby level so that’s  why we took that opportunity with ‘Sarries’, but I’m hoping to play a lot of rugby this year and you take the rest when it arrives.

“I’m not looking too far ahead, just concentrating on the Tahs and getting through the season.”

On the Waratahs front, Skelton and the rest of the NSW forward pack are steeling themselves for two ferocious scrum battles on their two-week South African tour.

”I think we can still improve and that’s the theme we took out of it,” he said.

“In parts we were good but as a forward pack we want to be evolving and adapting, we want to improve and steadily build through the season.” - Will Skelton

Still early in the season, Skelton said the long-haul trip would be a handy bonding opportunity for the Waratahs.

“I guess we can build on our connections that we’ve had in the preseason and really get to know one another more and get some wins as well, because we play the Lions and the Sharks,” he said.

“We saw the Sharks last night they did really well against the Reds, so they’ll be ready to go.”