'Down to my preparation': Skelton makes big admission after joining Wallabies
Hoping to impress against rugby powerhouse France, giant lock Will Skelton admits he has so far under-delivered in his Wallabies career.
Skelton joined the Australia squad this week ahead of their weekend Test clash with Les Bleus at Stade de France and said he wanted to “lay some foundations” ahead of next year’s World Cup, which also take place in the European nation.
Since making his international debut back in 2014, the 30-year-old has only played 19 Tests – starting in six – with his career shift off-shore five years ago to England and then the French Top 14 competition contributing to this low figure.
He did not don the gold jersey between 2016 and 2021 and said that last year, when he played a bench role in three Tests on the spring tour, was mostly spent getting up to speed with changes under new coach Dave Rennie.
But Skelton is hoping for more opportunities to prove his worth to the Wallabies.
“I don’t think I’ve been the happiest with my form coming to this national team, I don’t think I’ve played my best,” Skelton told reporters.
“It’s tough coming in just for three games but you see others doing it too, and they’re performing well, so that’s probably down to my preparation and getting it right for that week.
“Last year was a tough one – my first three or four days (with the squad) was all learnings, trying to get the detail down and then during the match it didn’t fall our way.
“Hopefully I can work, trying to build the foundation for myself, trying to get all the cores nailed down to hopefully be available for next year.”
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Playing week in, week out with his club side, the reigning European champions La Rochelle, against many members of the France squad, Skelton said the world No.2 outfit would provide formidable opposition.
“(Antoine) Dupont is the best player in the world, guys like Greg Alldrit, (Julien) Marchand are great over the ball – they’ve got talent everywhere across the field,” Skelton said.
“For us, it’d be trying to stick to our systems, being strong in defence and stay connected – that’ll be one of the main things this week.”
He could find himself paired in the second row with Brumbies youngster Nick Frost, who at 206cm shades Skelton in height by three centimetres.
But with Skelton tipping the scales at 140kg, there is no contest in the weight department.
Skelton said he would kept an eye on Frost, one of the Wallabies’ best performers in last week’s 16-15 win over Scotland, and had been impressed with what he had seen so far.
“I watch Super Rugby too, he did really well (against Scotland),” he said of the 23-year-old, who made his Test debut in July against England.
“He’s rangy, athletic, physical; all the attributes for starting lock so hopefully I get to play with him in the next few games – he’s a great kid.”
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