Skelton’s current deal with Saracens ends in May and returning to Australia to bid for a place in the squad for next year’s World Cup in Japan has become a real option following his dramatic loss of weight and improved fitness.
As RugbyPass detailed recently, Skelton has lost 2st thanks to the help of a nutritionist and a special App which keeps tabs on his calorie intake. This works alongside the Saracens training regime that has made Skelton, who is 6ft 8ins and 21st, into a World class ball carrying force. Last season he was hampered by injuries but still collected a Premiership winner’s medal and his current form this has raised his profile back in Australia where Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika is in need of help.
That could come in the formidable shape of the 18-cap former Waratahs forward whose powerhouse rugby will be needed by Saracens as they attempt to win another Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership double this season.
McCall has been impressed with Skelton’s commitment to the cause and told RugbyPass: “We have started talking to Will and we would like him to stay at Saracens but it is going to be his decision. He has enjoyed his time with us and believes it has been good for his game and we will continue the conversations with him.
“You can understand why the Australian Rugby Union would want him back but if he likes his life as it is at the moment and doesn’t feel that international rugby is for him, then he could stay.”
The Saracens director of rugby made it clear the club could not carry four locks who are involved in test rugby at the same time as it would leave the squad short of key forwards during important periods of a hectic English season. Skelton’s decision to turn his back on Wallaby rugby and move to England convinced Saracens to sign the 26-year-old and his continued test exile is important to the English champions.
McCall explained: “With George(Kruis), Maro(Itoje) and Nick (Isiekwe) involved with England then for our other second row to also be playing international rugby, we wouldn’t have any locks to play on a Saturday for us. Given the absences of players in that area of the squad, we need to employ someone who is not playing international rugby.”
Two times winners Saracens launch their Heineken Cup challenge at Glasgow Warriors on October 14 and are in Pool 3 with Lyon and Cardiff Blues. Having only just made it into the quarter-finals last season where they lost to eventual champions Leinster, McCall is determined to mount a better challenge in the pool stages.
“We were taught a lesson (by Clermont) last season that there is no margin for error in the competition” added McCall who saw his side beaten 46-14 by Clermont at home last season. “You cannot have an off day and think it will be all right because you lose control of the pool and a potential quarter-final place.
“We have to get off to a good start in Glasgow and they have a good side with lots of Scotland international. There will be a freshness when we get involved in the competition.”
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