Giant NSW Waratahs lock Will Skelton has no intention of watering down his intensity and aggressive approach following a suspension and questions about his tackling technique.
The Wallabies second rower will return for Saturday’s final round Super Rugby home match against Queensland after an unsuccessful appeal against a two-week ban for a tip tackle that kept him out of both the Waratahs’ South African games.
“The judiciary found that I was still guilty, so I copped that on the chin and moving forward I think I’ll bring the same intensity I have every game I’ve played,” Skelton said on Tuesday.
“I don’t think I’ve wavered or changed this year how I’ve played.”
Waratahs assistant coach Daryl Gibson said the coaching staff hadn’t attempted to temper Skelton’s intensity.
“We want our players to play tough and part of this is being physical,” Gibson said.
Skelton has also attracted attention for tackling without his arms, but wasn’t worried he would come under more scrutiny from referees.
Neither Skelton or Gibson was keen to dwell on the issue of tackling technique after Skelton, hooker Tolu Latu and winger Rob Horne all received suspensions over a two-game stretch for their involvement in tip tackles.
Asked if the Tahs needed to look at their tackling technique a testy Gibson said: “Do you think we need to?”
The Waratahs attack coach said he didn’t want to get into the legalities of the issue and the players hadn’t addressed it, or their mindset regarding their intensity.
Gibson said Skelton and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, who missed the South African campaign with concussion, both trained well on Tuesday.
Both are expected to start against the Reds, with incumbent lock Mitchell Chapman carrying a few minor injuries.
The match looms as one of the last Australian derbies of the Super season.
Although Skelton wasn’t focusing on the battle for Test jumpers he was looking forward to locking horns with the Reds pair of Wallaby locks, James Horwill and Rob Simmons.
“I always like playing against quality locks and quality opposition, so I’m excited at playing against these boys again,” Skelton said.
It will be the tenth straight week NSW has played and Gibson acknowledged how significant it would be for the Tahs to wrap up a top two spot and earn a week off with a bonus point victory.
“It would be very significant, we’re aware no team has won (the title) with (playing) ten on the trot, so it would be a good achievement,” Gibson said.