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Time I pulled my weight admits 22-stone Will Skelton

By Neale Harvey

Giant Saracens lock Will Skelton has vowed to turn up the power after admitting his contribution over the first half of the campaign has fallen short of his own high expectations.

Skelton, who stands 6ft 8in and weighs 22st, arrived from the Waratahs last August with a big reputation to maintain following a successful loan spell at Saracens last season.

However, the outsized Aussie enforcer told The Rugby Paper: “I don’t think I’ve been playing very well over the last couple of months so I really have to step it up and show what I can do.

“It’s a crucial part of the season when a lot of players are away on international duty and Saracens have been known to struggle in this period, so it’s important that everyone plays a part and I want to lead through my actions and contribute to some good results.

“There’s a lot to work on and there’s pressure within the group because we have our own aspirations, so we must target this current block of league games.”

While disappointed with his recent displays, 18-cap Wallaby Skelton has no regrets over putting his Test career on hold in favour of a two-year stint in the Premiership.

The 25-year-old still harbours hopes of featuring at the 2019 World Cup, but explained: “That’s not my priority at the moment. It’s obviously in the back of your head and if the opportunity came you’d want to be involved, but I’m just trying to give my best to Saracens.

“I came here with an arm injury and didn’t get going until October, but I came here to play in big games and my aim now is to stay in this squad for the rest of the season.

“Saracens have exceeded my expectations with the culture of the club, the way the boys operate and how the coaches look after the players every day. While I believe I have grown during my short time here, it’s not been enough and I have a lot more to give.”

Skelton believes being around some of England’s top locks will help him fulfil the potential that has always been apparent but has yet to manifest itself consistently at the top level – one of the main drivers behind his decision to swap Super Rugby for the north.

He said: “It was obviously a sacrifice to come here and not be eligible to play for Australia, but I knew that if  I learned as much as I could, I’d be able to put that knowledge to good use when I got back home.

“I’ve got two years here, although I’m keeping my options open and could stay longer, and I’m going to squeeze as much out of it as I can.

“I’ve learnt so much around the set-piece  and having class players here like Maro Itoje, George Kruis and Nick Isiekwe (left) means I’m learning more stuff every day.

“In the lineout it’s about the little triggers and technical aspects of being a top draw lock and in the scrum you realise how important set-piece dominance is up here. England are so strong at the moment and to have those three at Saracens is inspirational for me.”

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