NSW Waratahs enforcer Jacques Potgieter says it’s good for Australian rugby that giant lock Will Skelton is getting aggressive and angry.
The 203 centimetre 140 kilo second rower was one of the stars of the Waratahs 32-22 Super Rugby home win over the Crusaders on Saturday.
Renowned for his ball playing skills, 23-year-old Wallaby Skelton displayed plenty of bash as well as his trademark flash, making several bone-rattling tackles.
With hard man Potgieter sidelined by a sternum injury, Skelton was the Waratahs primary enforcer against the Crusaders, earning plaudits from his teammates and his coach Michael Cheika.
Potgieter, who expects to be back for next weekend’s match against the Lions in Johannesburg, described Skelton’s effort on Saturday as awesome.
“It’s good for Will, it’s good for Australian rugby that he gets a little bit aggressive and angry,” Potgieter said,
“Because if you get a giant like that angry, you don’t want to be a team playing against him.”
Potgieter, who will return to South Africa at the end of the season to be with his family, warned Skelton’s big hits could earn extra scrutiny from referees.
“As soon as he starts doing that every weekend the refs are going to start talking about him,” Potgieter said.
Cheika said Skelton had been working very hard at his game and he was proud of his performance against the Crusaders.
“He’s learning the other parts that go to being a tight forward around your presence in the game and trying to be a focal point for the forward pack to work around.” Cheika said.
Asked if Skelton had sailed close to the wind with some of his tackles, Cheika said “I don’t think so.”
He said NSW would need to improve on their performance against the Crusaders if they wanted to beat the Lions.
“I think we can look at the Brumbies and how well they performed against them and try and take a few tips off them,” Cheika said referring to the Brumbies 30-20 away win over the Lions earlier this month.
“We’re massive fans of the Lions. The coach (Johann Ackerman) is a really good operator, he breeds a lot of belief into the team.
“He was a good player himself and we like the way they play rugby as well, so we’re going to have to be (on) high alert.”