Why Will Skelton thought his Wallabies days were over

“I talked to [director of rugby] Scotty Johnson last year [before] the rugby championship, but it was an abbreviated version of it, ”said Skelton. “It was a massive bubble they made for 12 weeks. He asked me to come then and it didn’t work out. My wife was pregnant and I didn’t really want to leave her.

“I thought the door was closed and saw Rens [coach Dave Rennie] called me in the middle of the year and said: ‘If you would like to join, we’ll look at you’. He just said, ‘Keep playing well and you can be involved in the team’. I laid my head down.

Skelton starts working out at the gym.

Skelton starts working out at the gym. Credit:Andrew Phan / Wallabies Media

“Playing week out, week in against boys in the northern hemisphere, you take a little from them. I’ve played a lot with England boys. You can see how their standards are, how they work.

“You can see how well the boys have gone and looked in from afar, many of the boys would say so; you want to join. You want to see what happens to the group. A new coach, new staff, new boys on the way. It’s exciting and it’s been a lot of fun since I’ve been here. ”

Asked what he missed most in his time away from the Wallabies, Skelton replied: “Playing with the boys I grew up with. I played a lot of club rugby with guys like Hoops. [Michael Hooper]. Most of them are raised now. You build relationships with them at the beginning of your career, and then it’s ultimate to be able to play with them for your country. It is something very special and something you never take for granted. Getting involved with the group again is something I did not think would come. Thank you for being here. “

Antoine Dupont from Toulouse is tackled by La Rochelles Will Skelton.

Antoine Dupont from Toulouse is tackled by La Rochelles Will Skelton.Credit:Getty

The sight of Skelton and Arnold back in Wallabies gold will warm the hearts of fans and give Australia a big boost for their upcoming tests against Scotland, England and Wales.

However, Rennie will have to decide whether the pair – as well as hooker Latu and playmaker Kurtley Beale – can be expected to perform on just a week’s preparation with the group.

Asked if it could be a bit ambitious to play the Scotland match on Sunday (Monday morning AEDT), Skelton left the decision in Rennie’s hands, but said he and other returning players were not there to train.

“We went through a little bit of detail last night,” Skelton said. “The form is quite simple and something like a rugby player that you have to get used to quickly. I’m not sure we’ll see what Rens thinks, but we’ll definitely raise our hand.

“All the boys… we are not here to sit back and train for the three weeks. We will try to join and raise our hand for selection. We will try to get our heads around it for Sunday on a seven-day turnaround. “

The Wallabies are looking to secure their sixth win in a row – a race the team has not achieved since a streak of seven games in 2013 and 2014.

Kurtley Beale has been welcomed back into the Wallabies community.

Kurtley Beale has been welcomed back into the Wallabies community. Credit:Andrew Phan / Wallabied Media

“You can see how well they’ve played,” Skelton said. “They’re on a winning streak and you want to come in and add value. You don’t want to pull them back. You always want to be in. Guys like Rory and myself, Duncan [Paia’aua] and Colby [Fainga’a] that has come with [the squad], we are happy to be here and help and help bring this squad where it wants to be. ”

Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou, who made her debut against Scotland at Murrayfield four years ago, said Skelton’s inclusion would make his life easier as a tight-head prop at scrum time.


“Having him behind me or any of those tight-heads, as a prop, it’s a dream,” Tupou said. “You don’t have to do much. You just have to be in good shape and Will does the rest. Looking forward to it.”

Australia suffered a record 53-24 defeat against Scotland the last time the teams played in Edinburgh.

“I have not seen the match. Not the best game. Hopefully we will change it around this weekend,” said Tupou.

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