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Skelton believes competition for places at lock can only be a positive for Saracens

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 March 2019

Saracens' Will Skelton is tackled by Harlequins' Marcus Smith (pic: Nigel French/PA)

Saracens' Will Skelton is tackled by Harlequins' Marcus Smith (pic: Nigel French/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Australia international scored two tries in victory over Harlequins on Saturday

Saracens' Nick Isiekwe collects lineout ball against Harlequins (pic: Nigel French/PA)Saracens' Nick Isiekwe collects lineout ball against Harlequins (pic: Nigel French/PA)

Will Skelton insists the competition for places among the Saracens locks is a huge positive for the team.

The second row is certainly an area where the north Londoners are blessed with talent, with a host of international stars able to scrum down in that position.

As well as Australia international Skelton, Sarries also have the England trio of Maro Itoje, George Kruis and Joe Launchbury and Wales’ Dominic Day to pick from.

Add to that the emerging talent that is Joel Kpoku and there is a plethora of talent for director of rugby Mark McCall to choose from.

With Kruis expected to return for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup tie on Saturday, Skelton delivered a timely reminder of his own ability last weekend.

In a 27-20 success at home to Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership, the 26-year-old crossed for two tries in a man-of-the-match performance.

Many would expect that to be enough for Skelton to keep hold of his starting berth, but the lock says he has full faith in whatever team McCall goes with on Saturday.

“I trust the coaches and whatever the coaches want,” said the former Waratahs man.

“The competition for places is good for us and we’ve got four strong locks, as well as Joel who’s knocking on the door.

“Whatever team the boss does pick, it’s your duty as a player to put your best foot forward and perform for the team.”

As for that win over Harlequins, Saracens rallied from being 17-6 down at the break to triumph.

It was a game of two halves for the north Londoners, who were as good in the second period as they were bad in the first.

And Skelton feels he understands exactly where Sarries improved which led to their stirring fightback.

“As a forward pack, we thought we’d let the team down in the first half. Physically, we weren’t there,” he added.

“In the second half, we had a bit of a rev up from the coaches and the guys who like to carry stepped up.

“The guys who like to put big hits in did that and we played well in the second half.

“I was being strapped up at half-time, so I didn’t hear exactly what was being said, but one of the boys filled me in.

“He said that we had a plan during the week and we’d veered off course in the first half.

“In the second half, we went back to basics and stuck to the plan. We kept it simple and got the result.”

Though they know they can improve this weekend, Saracens will have generated some good momentum going into their European quarter-final with the win over Harlequins.

And Skelton believes everything is moving nicely in the right director for the north Londoners.

“We’re in a good place and in the past, the games where we’ve missed players because of the Six Nations has been tough, but this time we’ve done better,” he said.

“We’ve got momentum going into the Champions Cup and we have some soldiers coming back.

“We have players like George Kruis and Owen Farrell coming back and hopefully they’ll be in the mix and we can put our best foot forward against Glasgow.”

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