Behemoth second-rower Will Skelton remains a player high on the
Wallabies’ radar as they look towards planning for the 2023 Rugby World
Cup, according to the team’s defence coach Matt Taylor.
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According to the Planet Rugby website, Skelton, who stands 2.03m tall and weighs in at 125kg, has spent the last three seasons with English club
Saracens, but there was brief hope that he might be interested in
returning to Australia when the club was embroiled in a salary cap
scandal that saw them relegated from the Premiership.
Rugby Australia was keen in trying to bring Skelton home in the
aftermath of that, but Skelton’s asking price was reportedly too steep.
Instead, he is set to join French side La Rochelle until the end of
the 2022 season, a timeline that could still put him in plans for the
2023 World Cup.
Currently with just 18 Tests to his name, Skelton would not qualify
to play for Australia from overseas under the “Giteau Law”, which
currently sets a minimum 60 Test caps for overseas-based players to have
a hope of playing for Australia.
Despite his current situation, it is
clear that Skelton is certainly on the Wallabies’ radar and asked about
which overseas-based players were impressing him most, former Glasgow
Warriors and Scotland assistant coach Taylor was quick to mention the
“I’ve always been impressed with Will
Skelton, I really love him as a player personally because of how he’s
developed,” Taylor told Rugby Australia’s The Rugby Nation show.
“He’s a guy, listen if he came back to Australia that would be
excellent and moving forward to the World Cup (but) everyone’s got their
own goals and ambitions and things like that.”
New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has been vocal about his desire to have all
his Test players playing in Australia.
Taylor admitted, though, there was
always going to be the prospect that some players would take up overseas
offers in what is an increasingly competitive global market.
“In that part of the game, in a
perfect world we’d all love them playing (in Australia) but the reality
is guys will go overseas and sometimes that’s a good thing as well, in
terms of, they discover different ways to play, other international
players, so I think you just try and work with what you have,” he said.