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Waratahs super-sized Will power

News.com.au
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Update: 11:29AM THE men they call Big Will and Jackpot could hold the key to Waratahs' glory against the Crusaders on Saturday night, so great has been their impact this season.

Giant lock Will Skelton has been nothing short of a revelation. At 135kg and 203cm, the 22-year-old does wrecking ball with finesse.

While Jacques Potgieter, the South African enforcer with flowing locks, has earned cult hero status at Moore Park.

Former Wallaby and Waratah lock Dan Vickerman has been impressed with Potgieter's influence both on and off the field for the Tahs since he arrived at the start of the season.

"He's been fantastic for the team," Vickerman said.

"It's been well documented the physicality that he's brought and also the impact around the field from a ball carrying and defensive perspective. The one thing he also brings at training and on the field is that level of energy - he's a good guy to have around the field.

"You can see that he certainly lifts his teammates and he's certainly a good team man."

While Potgieter has admitted he prefers to start the match rather than come on as a substitute, Skelton has made a massive impact off the bench.

It was his powerful run and beautiful offload that set Bernard Foley up for the Waratahs' final try against the Brumbies last Saturday.

And Vickerman has followed Skelton's progress this year.

"Big Will is going extremely well," he said.

"It's been a massive year for him and he's gone from strength to strength. He's been capped for Australia, had a massive game against France, but for the Tahs he's been magnificent. The value he adds, being able to get through the tackle and offload - and for a massive human he can move too.

"That pass he gave to Bernard Foley to score that try that really took the wind out of the Brumbies sails was a true credit. To be a huge guy with finesse too is quite a unique attribute."

Vickerman has been called on to help the Waratahs with their lineout at times this season, so he has seen first hand the hard work the players and coaching staff have put into the season.

They've been rewarded for it too and Vickerman, who considers himself one of the biggest Tahs fans going around, is confident they will finally get one over the Crusaders.

"I've helped where I can and it's been good to have a little bit of involvement and see how they've evolved as players and as a side," he said.

"I love the Waratahs and I look forward to seeing them out there against the Crusaders. The Crusaders are a side you've got to give respect to, but in saying that I think the guys that are playing for the Waratahs have been consistent all year. The teams had some good form on the board and it poses a fantastic final. I think the Tahs can give them a run for their money and hopefully the result falls our way, which Im thinking it will."

While Potgieter and Skelton will no doubt play a massive part, Vickerman cautions that its going to be a ferocious battle of the packs.

"You've almost got an All Black pack playing against a Wallaby one and Jacques has played for the Springboks," he said.

"You've got two formidable teams going up against each other and then you've got some exciting backs. But I think the cohesion the Tahs team is showing is a credit to all who have been involved."





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