Wed 21 Aug 2019 | 08:48

Skelton not needed says Wallabies star

Skelton not needed says Wallabies star
Wed 21 Aug 2019 | 08:48
Skelton not needed says Wallabies star
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WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN: Kurtley Beale is relaxed about the outcome of 11th-hour talks to squeeze Will Skelton into the Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup squad, believing they are already blessed with quality options at lock.

Coach Michael Cheika planned one last phone chat with London-based lock Skelton this week, to finally rule him in or out of contention for Friday’s 31-man squad announcement.

Star Saracens forward Skelton would need to commit to Australian rugby to be eligible for the global tournament in Japan unless an exception is made.

Beale knows the giant Skelton’s bulldozing qualities well with the pair teammates at the Waratahs for three seasons, including in 2014 when they won the Super Rugby title with Cheika as coach.

However, Beale said it wouldn’t be a body blow to Australia’s World Cup chances if the 27-year-old Skelton was unavailable.

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“He’s obviously a special player but in that lock position there’s a lot of guys putting their hands up and they’re delivering,” he said.

“Rory Arnold has been injured but he’s been pretty special; Adam Coleman is very effective as well.

“We’ve got some good players there and I think that’s really good for us as a group going into the World Cup.”

Izack Rodda has started the past 17 successive Wallabies Tests alongside either Arnold, Coleman or veteran Rob Simmons.

They shape as a logical foursome but it hasn’t stopped Cheika maintaining communications with Skelton.

Skelton, with 18 Tests to his name, is at a career juncture that will either keep him in England or return him home.

“I know he’s an excellent player and we’d love to have him back but I’ve been really happy with the progress of the tight five so far this season,” Cheika said.

“I think that’s really important to note, everyone’s got to want to be in it for the right reasons.”

Experienced fullback Beale said competition in every position had been a bonus and those who have missed selection in recent weeks had taken it well.

A prime example is 2015 World Cup standout Bernard Foley, who Cheika said remains just behind Christian Lealiifano in the five-eighth pecking order.

“He’s been great, he’s a great team man. It’s always team first with Bernard,” Beale said.

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Skelton Not Needed Says Wallabies Star - Australia | Rugby365