Skelton to return to Saracens on two-year deal

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Waratahs lock Will Skelton has signed a two-year deal with Saracens that will see him return to Allianz Park from the 2017-18 Premiership season.

Australian Skelton - who will put his international career on hold - was drafted in on a short-term deal in December due to a shortage of options in Sarries' second row, with Alistair Hargreaves having retired amid injuries to Maro Itoje and George Kruis.

The 24-year-old impressed enough during his eight appearances over a two-month stint to secure a permanent switch at the end of the Super Rugby season.

"I am very excited to be returning to Saracens. This time around I am signing a longer-term deal, so it's been a really big decision and one I haven't made lightly," Skelton said in a statement.

"It's not easy leaving the Waratahs and the Wallabies - Darryl Gibson and Michael Cheika have been fantastic for my career so far and I want to thank them for everything they have done for me, on and off the field.

"Not being able to pull on the gold jersey while I am playing in England has made the decision especially difficult, but this is about family as much as it is football.

"One day I'd love to play for Australia again and if that opportunity comes up I will give everything I've got for my country. My wife Kate and I are looking forward to working and living on the other side of the world, and everything that brings."

Director of rugby Mark McCall said: "We're absolutely delighted that Will is returning. In a very short space of time here his contribution to the side was superb, he showed a real appetite to improve his game and he was very popular among all the players and staff.

"There's still so much more to come from him, which is incredibly exciting for us as he is already a proven international player so we're looking forward to welcoming him back later this year."