MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former Australia lock Will Skelton has signed a two-year contract extension with English Premiership side Saracens after turning down the chance of a Wallabies jersey at the World Cup in Japan.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika contacted Skelton a number of times to try to bring the hulking 6ft-8in (2.03m) second rower back to Australia after he played a big part in Saracens’ domestic and European cup double.
Cheika finally conceded defeat when he omitted the New Zealand-born 27-year-old from his World Cup squad named on Friday.
Skelton’s deal will keep the 18-cap Wallaby at the London club until the summer of 2021, effectively ruling him out of internationals during the period.
Australia has a policy of selecting only home-based players unless they have 60 or more caps.
“I enjoy being in the boys’ company, the coaches are great and coming into working and enjoying your job is the main reason why we stayed,” Skelton said in a team release.
“Having the opportunity to stay here was almost a no-brainer for me. Having this culture of working hard and having great people around me made it an easy decision.”
The World Cup starts on Sept. 20.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)