George Kruis hails the impact of Saracens signing Will Skelton

Will Skelton in action on his Saracens debut. Picture: Wiredphotos

Will Skelton in action on his Saracens debut. Picture: Wiredphotos - Credit: Archant

George Kruis has hailed the impact of Saracens’ new recruit Will Skelton after the Australian’s debut appearance in Saturday’s demolition of Sale Sharks at Allianz Park.

The 6ft 8ins Australian lock forward, who is also contracted with the New South Wales Waratahs in his home country, has signed for the reigning league and European champions on a short-term deal to bolster Sarries’ injury-hit forward pack.

He was introduced 10 minutes into the second half of the weekend’s 50-3 Champions Cup triumph, and Kruis was impressed.

“You can see what he can bring - he came on and started belting people. He carried very well,” Kruis told Ham&High Sport. “I think the best thing is that he’s excited, and he’s already given us a lot of energy. He’s hungry to learn and I think he’s in a good environment to do so.

“He’s a huge man but he offers a lot more than being a big lump on the field. I was really impressed with his work rate as well. We talk about our subs coming on and making a difference, and he and Joel [Conlon] came on and made a huge difference.”

Saracens’ bonus-point victory in Hendon was their 12th successive European victory – a run that started after their semi-final loss to Clermont in 2015 – and another win over Sale in Sunday’s reverse fixture will equal Munster’s record of 13 consecutive continental triumphs between 2005 and 2007.

“[With] the conditions and the way we selected to play the game I think we did very well,” said Kruis. “We put them under immense pressure and they didn’t get in our 22 for about 20 minutes, so we stuck to our game plan very well.

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“I think with the improvement from the Leicester game the other week, we did that unbelievably well.

“We talked about not chasing and really pushing the bonus point, so I think it’ll be quite a similar game plan [in the next match] I imagine. Playing teams back to back you can pick up on what you did last week and tweak the tactics a little bit.”

Saracens are coming to the end of a remarkable year in which they have won the domestic and European double, and three of their players have been nominated for the World Rugby Player of the Year award.

England’s Maro Itoje has also been crowned the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year – and yet there are no Sarries players, or any rugby players in fact, have been included in the 16-person shortlist for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year gong.

Kruis has been part of an England squad that has won all of their 14 matches in 2016, securing a Grand Slam in the Six Nations along the way.

He added: “I think across the board English rugby’s been putting up a hand and, whether it’s in the club competitions or internationally, we’ve had a good stint at it - but it’s not up to me.”

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