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Will Skelton right at home in Auckland

'Home' game: Will Skelton offloads in the Waratahs' loss to the Force.

'Home' game: Will Skelton offloads in the Waratahs' loss to the Force. Photo: Getty Images

While the rest of the Waratahs brace themselves for the Eden Park blowtorch, Will Skelton thinks he is preparing for a "home game" at the Blues' fortress.

The towering Waratahs second-rower spent the first 10 years of his life in Auckland and still has relatives in the north island city.

Although a young Skelton preferred league to rugby, he watched his cousin Brad Mika, who played three Tests for the All Blacks, play at Eden Park and went there most weekends to watch him play in the National Provincial Championship.

"I have a lot of family in Auckland, it will feel like a home game for me," Skelton said.

"I haven't played [in New Zealand] since I was young, it should be good to go back home and see my family and play in front of them."

This time he goes back as one of the Waratahs' biggest talents, in every sense of the word.

Skelton, the youngest member of the run-on side, makes his third consecutive start in the second row and has promised to bring his 135-kilogram frame – "140 kilograms on game day" – to bear for the fourth-placed side this week.

"It will be a tough encounter. They're a physical team with a bit of head-wobble out on the wings and in the centres," he said.

"If we just hold on to the ball and stick to our game plan we can try to get the result over there."

Skelton has produced his own fair share of head-wobble this season as he comes of age in the NSW pack.

With No.8 Wycliff Palu's workload being managed, Jacques Potgieter has been a regular starter at No.6, leaving Skelton to his own devices alongside Kane Douglas in the second row.

Skelton said the side had spent a considerable amount of time  making a weapon of their set piece work.

"Like most teams we play we try to put pressure on at set piece," he said.

"This week they have an All Black front row and that's going to be a test for us but ... our focus this week has been pressure at set piece so if we work on that the result should come our way."

That means more of what Waratahs fans love – Skelton carrying and offloading while defenders swarm around him like gnats.

"Cheik' backs our ability and he knows that if I have the strength to ball-play then he's not going to hold me back from doing that," he said.

"But I have to go forward before I can try and do those fancy passes ... It would be a waste if I went out there and just tried to be fancy. I've got a big body and I have to use that for my team."

14 comments so far

  • The Tahs should wallop the Blues. The Blues are only one of those weak conference kiwi teams after all. I don't know why NZ is allowed so many teams in the Super XV comp, they clearly don't have enough depth in the Land of the Perpetual Dark Cloud to have 5 competitive teams. Priceless, if I say so myself.

    Commenter
    johnny-boy
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 7:04AM
    • Yeah right but then when you take out the Kiwis in the Australian Super rugby teams, only the Brumbies will be competitive. The rest will have a hard time beating the Lions and Cheetahs. I suspect however that the Kiwi teams will be too strong if they are reduced by one team and we then won't have a more even Super 15 comp.

      Commenter
      Akari
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 10:53AM
    • Yeah that's why your teams load there squads with New Zealanders that miss a super contract then pick them for the wallabies like Harris , kepu , the likes of Woodward at the rebels etc . Nz and sa should leave super rugby and go back and strengthen there domestic comps and leave Aussie rugby to die . That will keep ya happy Johny ya douche

      Commenter
      David
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 6:40PM
    • The Blues walloped the Waratahs. The Waratahs are only one of those weak conference Aussie teams after all. I don't know why Australia is allowed so many teams in the Super XV comp, they clearly don't have enough depth in the Land of the perpetual big mouths to have 5 competitive teams. Priceless, if I say so myself.

      Commenter
      Black
      Date and time
      April 25, 2014, 5:32PM
  • yeah, because the force, waratahs and rebels have been stacking super titles like they're going out of fashion...

    Commenter
    ha ha
    Date and time
    April 24, 2014, 9:08AM
    • Happy to hear that Will feels quite at home being back in Auckland ... so now Will can you please put 'em Blues all to bed and wish them nighty night and Tah Tah for all us Tah's supporters. This would be greatly appreciated... Tah muchly.

      Commenter
      Machooka
      Location
      inner west sydney
      Date and time
      April 24, 2014, 12:53PM
      • Watch out Will, Jerome is back & is just starting to hit his "straps", something like that which made him the best No6, in world rugby.

        Commenter
        Muzzo
        Location
        Orange
        Date and time
        April 24, 2014, 2:48PM
        • Hey Muzzo, I am wondering if Skelton still reckons the Blues will be soft. Kaino had a huge game.

          Commenter
          Black
          Date and time
          April 25, 2014, 5:38PM
      • Please David, get off your kiwi high horse. Not just in rugby but kiwis migrate to Australia for a better life, change in lifestyle and greater opportunity. Will Skelton, Woodward and mike harris are no different. Your obviously insecure about this mate, because you're probably a kiwi who's migrated to Australia and can understand why professionals make the trip over the Tasman. It's called globalisation you douche.

        Commenter
        Truth teller
        Date and time
        April 25, 2014, 11:02AM
        • So Johnny boy can write that and I can't reply in kind ?? It's not globalization when you pull players from another country that have played age group for that said country . If you look at my response it was to a smart arse comment about the depth of nz rugby ya simpleton

          Commenter
          David
          Date and time
          April 25, 2014, 1:21PM

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