Walker’s in a hurry to make up lost time
HOOKING prospect Jack Walker is relishing the chance of a head-to-head against Jamie George and Schalk Brits as he aims to put his career back on track.
After a stellar U20s career in which he captained England to World Cup success in 2016, the former Yorkshire Carnegie No.2 has endured a torrid time since joining Bath that summer, twice breaking his right foot and also suffering a fracture to the left one.
Two games into his latest comeback, Walker, 21, said: “It’s been a pretty frustrating start to my time at Bath but I’m happy to be through all the rehab now. Hopefully I’ve seen the back of all these injuries and can finish the season well.
“I just want to contribute to Bath as much as possible now. Whether that’s starting or off the bench, I want to be a big part of this team, help us get some good results and close the season in a positive way.”
Walker retains his place in a side that shows one change, with Tom Ellis replacing the injured Matt Garvey on the blindside, meaning Charlie Ewels becomes captain.
Walker is keen to pit his wits against two of the Premiership’s finest, saying: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to test myself against world-class guys like Jamie George and Schalk Brits.
“Coming through you look up to people like these and it’s been good to see Jamie progress over the last few years, playing for England and the Lions.
“It’s fantastic for another young hooker like me to see that. There are lots of other good hookers around, so today is a big challenge I’m looking forward to massively.”
Bath desperately need to snap a run of three Premiership defeats as their top six hopes recede and pressure continues to mount on rugby director Todd Blackadder.
Walker added: “We’ve already shown that we can beat Saracens, as we did at home in September. We’ve trained well, we’re pretty confident and we’re excited about going there and putting in a performance.”
Chris Wyles makes his 250th appearance for Saracens in a side that shows three changes, with Dom Day and Schalk Burger in for the rested Maro Itoje and Blair Cowan. Richard Wigglesworth rotates with Ben Spencer at scrum-half.
Saracens have hit top form, but hooker George warned: “When you win comfortably, as we did at Saints last week, you feel a million dollars – but against a good, well motivated Bath side we can’t afford to be complacent.”
Challenge: Bath hooker Jack Walker