Walker all smiles after 1872 Cup debut
The grin on Murphy Walker’s face as he walked off the field to rapturous applause from the Warrior Nation said it all.
Having produced a shift that a seasoned veteran
would be proud of in his 70 minutes at the coal face, the prop could sit back
in the knowledge that his job – and his team’s job – was done.
Four vital United Rugby Championship points, the
first blow struck in the 1872 Cup, and the bragging rights over the club’s
cross-country rivals. Not a bad way to start your weekend.
“I’m pretty knackered after that!,” laughed
“I’m absolutely buzzing too, though. It was a
typically physical derby game, and we turned out really well in the first half.
“We spoke in the changing rooms at half time
about about the need to come out rolling after the break, and to be honest we
probably didn’t do that as well as we wanted to. To bounce back from that and
pull away, though, shows what we can do as a team.”
At the end of a week that saw him called into the
senior Scotland setup for the first time in his fledgling professional career,
a first taste of the 1872 Cup was the perfect way for Walker to cap off a
landmark seven days.
It’s been a fixture that the young front-rower
has been looking forward to for a while, though, and an opportunity that he was
determined to grasp with both hands.
“The derbies are the games everyone wants to
play in,” said Walker.
“They’re the games you circle in your calendar,
and they’re so much better when you win. They had a big, physical pack and some
rapid outside backs, so we knew we needed to shut them down. We did that well
and that allowed us to play our own game.”
The prop also praised another of his fellow 1872
Cup debutants, with Sebastian Cancelliere coming in for particular attention
after an action-packed performance out on the wing.
Attention now turns to maintaining the momentum
of Friday night’s victory, as a trip to Cardiff takes centre stage next
“Seb was electric, honestly,” said Walker.
“That assist for Josh’s try was unreal.
“All the new boys have bought into the ethos of
this club so well this season. We’ve talked about the need to get ourselves up
for this game, and we delivered. Now we need to go to BT Murrayfield and do
that again in May, and I know the boys will be right up for that one as well.”
“We’ll watch that game back and identify where
we can improve, but a lot of our preview is focused on us and not the
opposition. We know that if we can be the best that we can be, then we can go
toe to toe with any team in the competition.”