James Mortimer 19.Apr.2013Getty Images
Will Skelton, already something a minor legend in New South Wales, could make his Super Rugby debut off the bench in Round Ten.
Skelton was part of a 923kg schoolboy forward pack that the Daily Telegraph in Australia featured three years ago after revelations they had a bigger collection of eight men than what was at the time the heaviest in the Australian game, outweighing the Waratahs forward pack (893kg) by a healthy margin.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika read out the 20-year-olds name in the team meeting, and the 203cm, 135kg giant told the Sydney Morning Herald he couldn’t believe the news.
"After he said my name, I blacked out everything, I didn't hear a word after that, I had to ask other guys afterwards if they were also in the team," Skelton said.
"It was great to meet the Waratahs guys a couple of years ago - now I'm training with them, mucking around with them, and hopefully I'll be playing alongside them on Friday."
Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna is the only player listed as being heavier than Skelton, and remarkably both players have trimmed down according to their respective franchises, with Skelton nearly 150kg in his schoolboys days, while the 137kg Waikato forward’s fitness is allowing him to play a full 80 minutes if required.
Waratahs forward Wycliff Palu, who was dwarfed by the big Sydney University prodigy, remembered meeting the big unit.
"A couple of years ago we had a photo out here, he was playing for Hills, their pack was heavier than our pack, he was one of them, just massive," Palu said.
"I've never seen him play until this year, he's got good feet and is pretty agile for a big guy. He's right next to me in the locker room too and he's taking up all the space.
Palu said it was time the Waratahs pack lifted their game.
"If you look across our forward pack, there are a fair few guys you could say are pretty physical, he said.
“I think we probably haven't been playing to the best of our ability. When we start doing that, that's when the physicality comes. If we're playing well, that's when we're physical and making big hits.
"At the moment our pack is not living up to its potential."