Mon, 01 Jun 2020

Big Will Skelton still on Wallabies? radar

News24
20 May 2020, 22:43 GMT+10

Behemoth second-rower Will Skelton remains a player high on the Wallabies' radar as they look towards planning for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, according to the team's defence coach Matt Taylor.

According to the Planet Rugby website, Skelton, who stands 2.03m tall and weighs in at 125kg, has spent the last three seasons with English club Saracens, but there was brief hope that he might be interested in returning to Australia when the club was embroiled in a salary cap scandal that saw them relegated from the Premiership.

Rugby Australia was keen in trying to bring Skelton home in the aftermath of that, but Skelton's asking price was reportedly too steep.

Instead, he is set to join French side La Rochelle until the end of the 2022 season, a timeline that could still put him in plans for the 2023 World Cup.

Currently with just 18 Tests to his name, Skelton would not qualify to play for Australia from overseas under the "Giteau Law", which currently sets a minimum 60 Test caps for overseas-based players to have a hope of playing for Australia.

Despite his current situation, it is clear that Skelton is certainly on the Wallabies' radar and asked about which overseas-based players were impressing him most, former Glasgow Warriors and Scotland assistant coach Taylor was quick to mention the 28-year-old.

"I've always been impressed with Will Skelton, I really love him as a player personally because of how he's developed," Taylor told Rugby Australia's The Rugby Nation show.

"He's a guy, listen if he came back to Australia that would be excellent and moving forward to the World Cup (but) everyone's got their own goals and ambitions and things like that."

New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has been vocal about his desire to have all his Test players playing in Australia.

Taylor admitted, though, there was always going to be the prospect that some players would take up overseas offers in what is an increasingly competitive global market.

"In that part of the game, in a perfect world we'd all love them playing (in Australia) but the reality is guys will go overseas and sometimes that's a good thing as well, in terms of, they discover different ways to play, other international players, so I think you just try and work with what you have," he said.

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