Sydney - Hulking lock Will Skelton credited Wallabies coach Michael Cheika
with unlocking his potential after signing up to stay in Australian rugby until
the end of 2017 on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old, one of Australia's most promising young tight five players,
is expected to be included in the match day squad for Saturday's Rugby
Championship opener against South Africa at Lang Park.
Cheika gave the New Zealand-born lock, who stands 2.04m tall and weighs in
at 140 kgs, his break at the Waratahs and Skelton played a big role in their
2014 Super Rugby triumph.
"He's unlocked the drive that I had as a kid but really it has come out
in the last couple of years," Skelton said of Cheika in Brisbane on
"He's a great coach and he really gets the best out of me. He's a
strength-driven coach and he backs my ability and I'll repay that faith when I
get on the field."
Skelton, who has played all but one of his eight tests off the bench, is a
major threat with ball in hand, has surprisingly soft hands in the pass and is
an excellent defender of the rolling maul.
He has worked hard on his scrummaging and conditioning this year but is
still too heavy to lift to any great effect at the lineout, which means at
least one of the loose forwards picked alongside him has to have that option to
"I still feel I have a lot of improvement left in my game," he
"You need to have high standards for yourself and I've been working extremely
hard throughout the year to work on all areas of my game to make me a complete
80 minute player."