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Slimmed-down Skelton earns Wallaby recall

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Joe Barton

The story of Will Skelton's rise, fall and rise again as a Wallaby can be easily reduced to a discussion about his waistline: but coach Michael Cheika believes the latest slimmed-down model is ready to make his mark on the game.

The monster lock, who sparkled on the Wallabies' 2014 Spring Tour to announce himself on the international stage, has tipped the scales at well over 130kg throughout his professional career.

His huge frame being both a blessing and a curse as it makes him a handful for any defence, but often reduces him to the role of impact player and nullifies his ability to contribute in the set piece.

He admits he's struggled to come to grips with his weight from an early age and it again became an issue this year during an unspectacular Super Rugby campaign with the Waratahs.

But after being dumped from the Wallabies team following the second Bledisloe Cup loss in August, a heart-to-heart with Cheika led to changes which quickly cleared his path back into the national team.

The 24-year-old made changes to his diet - which he says essentially amount to "cutting out the bad, keeping the good" - and slimmed down, losing close to 10kg.

"I feel a lot better. I think I wasn't in the best place playing Super Rugby, nutritional wise, and for me to get that nailed down and get into a nice routine ... it's benefited me a lot coming into the Spring Tour," Skelton said.

While he will still take the park at on Saturday at a whopping 138kg, it's a better mix of lean muscle than the buffet-inspired physique which was holding him back - a dangerous prospect for opposition defensive lines.

A proud Cheika recalled Skelton to his match-day 23 on Thursday, adding him to a power-packed bench to face Scotland and keep Australia's grand slam bid alive.

"Will Skelton has done a great job. When he came into us, I don't think he was in the right condition," Cheika said on Thursday.

"He's worked hard. Really hard. He's probably put about ten kilos away and he's in a much better playing shape."

The reward is a chance to add to his 16 Test caps and reignite an international career.

"I want to give him an opportunity to put his mark on the game," Cheika said.

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