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Warriors winger Nikki Walker determined to impress
MONSTER winger Nikki Walker has set his sights on a series of scorching Aviva Premiership displays for Worcester in a bid to reignite his international career.
The 6ft 5ins flyer, who has won 24 caps for Scotland, missed all of last season after a serious knee injury cruelly robbed him of a place at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The former Ospreys player, who scored 37 tries in 103 appearances during six years with the Welsh region, was part of the Scotland squad for the showpiece tournament in New Zealand, but suffered the blow five minutes before the end of his nation’s final warm-up game.
While he is now eager to return to the international fold, he has also praised Warriors for the faith they have shown by signing him despite there being no guarantees he would return to top form after his knee surgery.
Walker, who was nicknamed ‘The Monster’ by Ospreys’ fans after the song of the same name by the band The Automatic which was played whenever he scored a try, said: “It took massive faith from Richard Hill to sign me as I hadn’t played all season, but he knew that I would come back strong and work hard to get fit and back to being as good as I was before the injury.
“I am thankful to Hilly for that and to Worcester for showing that faith in me — hopefully I can repay them for that this season.
“My knee is completely fine, touch wood, and I’ve never had to miss sessions because of it, so not rushing back to playing last year and having a full pre-season was totally the right decision.”
He added: “Scotland have always kept an eye on how my rehab has been going and I was up there during the Six Nations to break things up a bit, so they’ve been really good about it.
“The medical staff at Ospreys and with Scotland were excellent and really drove me hard to get me back.
“I was really close to playing again last season, but we decided it was best not to come back and wait until I had a pre-season under my belt, so I feel really fresh and rejuvenated now, which will hopefully show in the way I play for Worcester.
“I’m looking to get back to the way I was playing before I got injured and, if I can do that, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be selected for Scotland. I still have aspirations to play for my country.
“I need to get back to that form first, though, and hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.
“Obviously, I’ll need a few games under my belt before that does happen, but I’m feeling good in training and I’m happy with the way Worcester are playing, which I think will suit me.
“It was great to be back out on the park playing against Gloucester.
“I’d have liked to have seen a bit more of the ball, but the game was a bit scrappy and stop-start with some strange refereeing at times as well, so it never really got going.
“Hopefully it will be a more flowing game this weekend and I can get into it a bit more.”