MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former Wallabies lock Will Skelton is still hoping to find a way to play at the World Cup while continue on at Saracens, the English club’s director of rugby Mark McCall told Australian media.
Skelton, a driving force in Saracens’ run to a third European championship in four years, is ineligible to play for the Wallabies according to the nation’s rules on overseas-based players but could be selected if he signs a domestic contract for the 2020 season.
“He is keen to play in the World Cup, but he is also keen to play for Saracens, which is quite complex,” McCall said.
“There hasn’t been much contact from Australia but I think there will be and we want our players to play in the World Cup.
“For that to happen he probably has to sign longer term there, which is not what we want but if that is what Will decides, that is what he decides.”
Skelton told Australian Associated Press earlier this month that he had already decided to stay on at Saracens and was poised to sign a contract extension despite the efforts of Wallabies coach Michael Cheika to lure him away.
“(Cheika) was trying to get me back home and there were some (Super Rugby) offers but it is difficult because I’ve agreed to stay here,” he said.
The big 27-year-old, who played the last of his 18 tests against France in 2016, signed a two-year deal with Saracens in 2017 after a short-term loan to the club.
Australian players based overseas are ineligible for the Wallabies unless they have played at least 60 tests.
Once battling weight and inconsistency while at Sydney-based Super Rugby team New South Wales Waratahs, Skelton’s transformation into a slimmed-down wrecking ball in English rugby has been lamented by Australian media during a lean run for the Wallabies.
Saracens face Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership final at Twickenham on Saturday, a repeat of last year’s title decider.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)