Shattered at not being able to help his teammates vanquish New Zealand in this weekend’s Rugby World Cup final, injured Wallabies forward Will Skelton has nominated setpiece domination as a key to Australia beating the All Blacks.
Giant NSW Waratahs lock Skelton was forced home after suffering a torn pectoral in his first start and Australia’s second match of the tournament against Uruguay, after he came off the bench in their opening game against Fiji.
Skelton had mixed feelings about missing out on the Wallabies’ run to the tournament decider at Twickenham.
“I think I came to terms with it pretty early on the flight back, I was reflecting on my journey, what happened,” he said.
“It is bittersweet, I am shattered and I wish I was there playing alongside the guys.
“But everyone is picked there to do a job and this is just not part of my journey at the moment.”
He said consistency in every area was required to beat New Zealand.
“Not backing off in the scrum, not dropping the ball,” Skelton said.
“I think if they can be clinical in those areas, especially dominating in setpiece, getting our maul going forward, things will work out really good in our way and we can get the result.”
Skelton admits he quickly feared the worst after suffering the injury.
“At the time I thought it was a big injury because I don’t usually come off the field if it’s anything minor, I came off in pain,” Skelton said.
He said his rehabilitation after surgery was going well and doubted it would affect his pre-season work with the Waratahs.
“I’m three and a half weeks post op, so I get the sling off in a week or so,” Skelton said.
Despite an early end to his first World Cup campaign, Skelton described his time at the tournament as “awesome.”
On Thursday morning, he was at the Sydney Opera House to help publicise its sails will be lit up in the Wallabies’ green and gold on Friday and Saturday nights.
Skelton stressed the Wallabies were well aware of the level of support they were getting back home.
“I’ve been texting the boys and keeping in contact and they are well aware of the support behind them and it will really lift them for a big occasion on the weekend,” Skelton said.