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Home comforts bring the best out of Walker

01 November 2011

  • England U20 man Walker enjoying Championship life
  • I’ve actually been given a chance – Walker
England U20 flanker Chris Walker

Photo: RFU Archive

Leeds Carnegie and England Under 20 flanker Chris Walker enjoyed a well deserved break last week, after an impressive man of the match display in the 28-23 win against Plymouth Albion last weekend.

The rest proved worthwhile, as Leeds notched up their fourth straight league win this weekend, putting 5-tries past Bedford at Goldington Road in a 45-28 victory.

The 19-year-old former England Under 18 captain went home to the Yorkshire Dales to spend time with his new puppy, Lola, but the Keighley-born forward is still fully focussed on Leeds, and their aspirations of instant promotion under new boss Diccon Edwards.

Edwards himself is no stranger to Headingley, returning to the club after a year as England U20’s assistant coach, but Walker is pleased to have him back at his club side.

“Diccon’s been great and I’m delighted that he’s back with us,” he said. “I’ve known him for a while now, and he was top drawer when he worked with our academy. He’s very direct and he has the respect of all the lads – you always know where you stand with him.”

Edwards’ mantra this season has been to give the youngsters a chance, and with three wins in their last three Championship games, it seems to be paying off. Leeds are currently in 8th place, but Walker harbours hopes of a push up the league table.

England U20 flanker Chris Walker

Photo: Getty Images

He added: “It’s been a good season for me so far in the sense that I’ve actually been given a chance, and it’s the same for the other young lads here, we’ve been given the chance to prove ourselves. Promotion is still the goal, and we have to keep that aim at the forefront of our minds.”

England Seniors defence coach Mike Ford was in training with Leeds last week, and Walker says that having someone of his calibre come into the camp can only be a positive.

He said: “Mike’s one of the best in the business, and it’s been good to have someone else come in and offer their own thoughts. It keeps us on our toes and it keeps us fresh.”

On his England U20 hopes, Walker is excited about the prospect of joining up with a few familiar faces as the side look to defend their 6 Nations title next February, but is particularly looking forward to playing alongside former England U18 back row partner, Worcester Warriors’ Matt Kvesic.

“I’ve played alongside Matt a few times over the years, and I fully appreciate what he’s achieved. I think he’s one of the best back row forwards in the country – particularly at our age grade, hopefully I can learn a few things from him as I look to push into the side.”