Murphy Walker: Scotland call and first start for Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh made it a memorable week for ‘ambidextrous’ prop
Walker then found himself thrust into the Glasgow Warriors team for the first pro team start of his career, and it was a night to remember as he played almost the entire match in the 30-17 win over Edinburgh in the first leg of the 1872 Cup.
Starting the game at loosehead, the 22-year-old showed his versatility by switching to tighthead when Simon Berghan went off.
Having an ‘ambidextrous’ prop at your disposal could be quite an asset for club and country and while Walker sees himself as “primarily a tighthead who can play loosehead” he seems pretty relaxed about the whole business.
“I was looking back at my game on Saturday or Sunday and I was pretty pleased set-piece wise,” he said. “It’s been a while since I played both sides; I think the last time was with Stirling.
“I speak to a lot of different props and they feel it is almost impossible. But for me I just do the opposite of the other. If it’s loosehead I do one sort of tactic in terms of hitting up and whatever, all the dark arts. Then, on the other side, I just reverse it and do the complete opposite.
“I personally don't find that hard to swap across mid game, mainly because I did it a lot at Stirling when you could only have one prop on the bench. I would usually end up doing 60 minutes of tighthead and then moving across to do 20 minutes of loosehead.”
Beating your local rivals is a good way to start your pro career in earnest and Walker said it was a happy Warriors changing room at full-time.
“Everyone was buzzing. We were singing our winning song and we made sure the doors were open so they could hear us. It was really enjoyable.”
If the week ended on a high note, the start was pretty decent as well. Walker’s family home is on a farm in Longforgan and he was helping his dad out when he got a call from the Scotland scrum coach.
“It was Monday morning and me and my dad were filling in potholes on the road to the house. I got a missed call from Pieter de Villiers and he left a message asking me to call him as soon as possible. I phoned him back and he said ‘we want you in’.
“It was quite a crazy 24 hours. I had to get back to Glasgow from Dundee and then across to Edinburgh. I got my kit and met everyone at the hotel.
“It was really good, an unbelievable experience. I did quite a lot of work with Pieter de Villiers, mainly looking at my loosehead work. I spoke with JD [John Dalziel] and Gregor [Townsend] and we were looking at bits of training to see where I could improve.”
For Walker, it is the first steps on the road to what has the potential to be a long and fulfilling career.
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