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Why Wallaby Will Skelton is ‘one of the best locks in the world’

By Finn Morton
Australia's lock Will Skelton reacts during the Rugby Championship first round match between South Africa and Australia at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria on July 8, 2023. (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE / AFP) (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Wallabies may be struggling at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped a former Australian international from heaping praise upon towering lock Will Skelton.

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Former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles believes Skelton is “one of the best locks in the world” after a couple of impressive performances to start the Wallabies’ 2023 international campaign.

Skelton appears to have finally found his feet within the Australian setup.

The La Rochelle lock has been one of the standouts in Europe for several years, and that form has finally carried over into the Test arena.

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Skelton was able to, at times, dominate both the Springboks and Los Pumas’ forward packs with some hard-hitting tackles, strong carries, and exceptional work at the set piece.

“Just his dominance at maul time,” Hoiles said on Stan Sport’s Between Two Posts.

“And even looking at home, he looks better now than he looked two weeks ago. It helps when you’ve got someone like that in the second row.

“We always talk front row and scrum pressure, but the fact you’ve got him sitting behind a tighthead prop – that makes an enormous difference.

“He’s close to one of the best locks in the world but I can’t see a better maul attacker or defender in world rugby.

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“I think we’ve got a good season in him. I’ve got a really good amount of confidence, going back to France, where he’s played most of his rugby.

“We’re going to get a good year out of him.”

The Wallabies are 0-2 under new coach Eddie Jones though, and they have just three matches to play before their opening Rugby World Cup fixture.

Australia will host rivals New Zealand in Melbourne later this month, before making the trek across the ditch to take on the All Blacks in Dunedin.

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Then, after naming their World Cup squad, the men in gold will travel to Europe – and take on World Cup hosts France in Paris. Winning any of those three Tests will be a game-changer for the Wallabies.

Skelton will likely play a key role for the Wallabies moving forward. Standing at 203cm and weighing 135kg, the Australian enforcer is simply too big and good to ignore.

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Comments

3 Comments
J
J Marc 364 days ago

Skelton ,and Arnold, are playing their twelvth rugby month in a row....

G
Greg 364 days ago

Disagree, Barry. Hoiles is right. The ABs would love him.

B
Barry 364 days ago

Skelton would not be in the top 20 test locks in World rugby. What a load of codswallop from Hoiles.

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Turlough 5 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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