Walker’s in a hurry to make up lost time

The Rugby Paper - - Aviva Premiership - By NEALE HAR­VEY

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.”

PIC­TURES: Getty Im­ages

Chal­lenge: Bath hooker Jack Walker

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