Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Walker targets place in Wales line-up

Eli Walker is hoping to make his Wales debut during the Six Nations

Wales' new wing wonder Eli Walker has warned George North and Alex Cuthbert he is gunning for their places.

North and Cuthbert starred in last season's Six Nations Grand Slam triumph with their mix of pace and brutal power, but it is Ospreys three-quarter Walker who is the form winger in Welsh rugby.

The 20-year-old, a gifted athlete at schoolboy level, has scored five tries in 13 appearances for his region this season but it is in the Heineken Cup where he has made the biggest impact. "It's definitely a goal to be capped," he said, with regards to representing Wales in the Six Nations.

When the Ospreys stunned French giants Toulouse in December, jet-heeled Walker was the star of the show. The Wales Under-20 cap completely outplayed opposite number Vincent Clerc, leaving the France winger for dead for his try and making several thrilling, scything bursts through the opposing defence to secure the man-of-the-match award.

Further heroics during the draw against Leicester, allied to a wonderful solo try against Treviso in the opening round of group fixtures, marked Walker out as a man confidence-shorn Wales, on a run of seven-straight defeats, could not do without as they prepare to defend their title.

Walker is battling to be fit for this weekend's Six Nations opener against Ireland due to a hamstring problem, but has set himself the task of usurping one of his rivals before the tournament is over.

He added: "I'd like to think I'm not here just to make up the numbers but to put pressure on the other guys. I'd like to think we feed off each other.

"My form has been good and I came back from the Under-20 World Cup (where Walker was part of the Wales squad that beat the junior All Blacks) last summer with a lot of confidence from Wales finishing third to take into this season.

"It has been great to get a few games under my belt with the Ospreys and I've built from there.

"Last season it was quite hard jumping in and out of the team but when you have a run of games, you get into a rhythm and have some continuity."