Six Nations: Hooker Alun Walker offers Gregor Townsend an option ahead of Scotland squad announcement

Scottish hooker Alun Walker could not have picked a better time to score two tries and produce a man-of-the-match performance as he helped Ealing Trailfinders defeat a Saracens side including England star Billy Vunipola.

Scottish hooker Alun Walker of Ealing Trailfinders scored two tries and was named man of the match in the win over Saracens. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

Gregor Townsend is due to name his Six Nations squad on Wednesday and is facing a dilemma at hooker.

Glasgow Warriors’ Fraser Brown has already been ruled out for what is likely to be the whole tournament with a neck injury while Edinburgh Rugby’s Stuart McInally is to see a specialist regarding a similar issue after he suffered a strain the gym.

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If bad news comes back regarding McInally then Warrior George Turner will be in pole position to start in the opener against England at Twickenham on February 6, but who would act as back-up hooker is unclear.

Alun Walker, right, holds up his hands as Andy Christie of Saracens is tackled during Ealing Trailfinders' cup win on Saturday. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

The 30-year-old Walker might just have given Townsend something to think about.

In what was the only professional match played in England on Saturday and with all eyes on Vunipola, the experienced hooker stole the No 8’s thunder.

Walker was named player of the match in the Trailfinders Challenge Cup tie at Vallis Way with the 27-26 triumph against a strong Saracens side showing that Ealing really do have hopes of pushing into the English Premiership in the coming years.

Walker’s impressive career below the English top tier has gone under the radar since he left Edinburgh, his first pro club, in 2013.

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After a year at Nottingham on loan he joined up with Ealing in 2014 and has been with them ever since and has been a very consistent performer in the second-tier Championship.

Before moving south Walker learnt his trade at Musselburgh and Currie, earning international under-20 honours and was in and around the Scotland A squad.

“The performance of our team at Ealing against Saracens speaks for itself,” Walker said after Saturday’s match.

“We have had some highs since I have been down here at the club such as winning National One and some Cups, but this win is up there with anything and it shows that we are building something good here.

“As a team we want to show that we can compete at the top level consistently and as a player I personally like testing myself against the best and giving as good as I get.”

Selection of Walker in the Scotland squad on Wednesday would be out of left field, but Townsend likes to throw up a surprise from time to time.

Other hookers in the running to act as cover for Turner if required are Dave Cherry (Edinburgh Rugby), Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors), Jake Kerr (Leicester Tigers), Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks) and Johnny Matthews (Glasgow Warriors), but they - including Walker - have just four caps between them.

Townsend faced a similar situation two years ago when he named his Six Nations squad. On that occasion, injuries to Brown and Turner opened the door for Cherry, Stewart and Kerr to be included. All three were uncapped at the time. Stewart went on to win three caps as a replacement in 2019 World Cup warm-up matches against France and Georgia twice. Kerr came off the bench against Italy to win his solitary cap in the 2019 Six Nations.

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