Will Skelton keen to make most of unexpected opportunity with the Wallabies

Marco MonteverdeNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Having thought the “door was closed” on his Wallabies career, former NSW Waratahs lock Will Skelton is desperate to make the most of an unexpected opportunity in Australia’s squad for the tour of the UK.

The towering forward has linked with the Wallabies in Britain ahead of this weekend’s clash against Scotland at Murrayfield.

A relaxation of the “Giteau Law” has allowed 29-year-old Skelton – who played the most recent of his 18 Tests in 2016 before moving to Europe the following year to continue his club career – to again be considered for Wallabies selection.

His return to the Wallabies fold might have happened last year when he was approached by Rugby Australia’s director of rugby Scott Johnson to play in the Tri-Nations tournament on home soil.

“He asked me to come then, but it didn’t work out,” said Skelton, who after a stint with English club Saracens joined French outfit La Rochelle last year.

“My wife was pregnant, and I didn’t want to really leave here.

“I thought the door was closed and then ‘Rens’ (Wallabies coach Dave Rennie) gave me a phone call in probably the middle of the year and said ‘if you’re like to be involved, we’ll be looking at you’.

“He said to keep playing good footy and you might be involved with the team, so I just put my head down.”

And now that he’s back, Skelton is not about to waste potential chances to play against Scotland, England and Wales this month.

“I’ll see what ‘Rens’ is thinking but we’ll definitely be putting our hands up, all the boys who have come in, because we’re not here just to sit back and train for the three weeks – we want to try to be involved and put our hand up for selection,” he said.

Skelton’s fellow France-based forwards Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu have also joined the squad, with all keen to be part of a Wallabies side aiming for a sixth successive Test win this weekend.

“To see how well the boys have been going … you want to be involved, you want to see what’s happening with the group, (the) new coach, (the) new staff, (the) new boys coming through,” Skelton said.

“You want to come in and add value to them. You don’t want to be pulling them back.

“It’s exciting and it’s been a lot of fun since I’ve been here. You can see the camaraderie in the group, everyone cares about each other,

“The international environment is something very special, so I’m happy to be back.”

Originally published as Will Skelton keen to make most of unexpected opportunity with the Wallabies

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