Towering Wallabies lock Will Skelton wants to play in the bulk of NSW Waratahs’ two remaining trials to boost his fitness prior to a season where he’ll be hoping to get more Test minutes.
In his Test career to date, 23-year-old Skelton has been used more as an impact player off the bench than a starter.
Skelton’s had just five starts in 14 Tests and only once played a full 80 minutes.
“I think as a professional you want to be on the team starting,” Skelton said.
“I think every player on our team wants to get that 1-15 jersey.”
A pectoral tear cut short his 2015 Rugby World campaign and he made his return to action in the Waratahs’ opening trial against the Brumbies last weekend.
“I played 40 (minutes) and the lungs were hurting, but that’s pre-season footy,” Skelton said.
Asked about his current level of fitness, a candid Skelton said: “Not where I want to be, I think.”
“We’ve got two more trials and I want to play the bulk of both of them and the coaches have their plan and I trust them and what they want me to play.’
With a couple of full Super Rugby campaigns under his belt, the 203cm, 140kg Skelton has the experience to become a major player in the Waratahs pack and potentially assume more responsibility.
“I’ve been here for three or four years now and you learn from the guys who have left and the guys who have retired,’ Skelton said.
“I’m not putting my hand up saying I’m a leader but I’ll try and lead by example.”
Skelton, who has lived in Australia since the age of 10, is returning to New Zealand, the land of his birth, for the Waratahs’ last two trials against the Chiefs and Highlanders.
“New Zealand have quality teams and to have them as our two last trials leading before the Reds, it’s an awesome experience and will really get the boys going,” he said.