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Winger Walker to miss first month of season
1:47pm Wednesday 15th August 2012 in Warriors By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
SCOTLAND winger Nikki Walker has been ruled out of the first month of Worcester Warriors’ season with a shoulder injury.
The 29-year-old, one of Richard Hill’s main signings on a two-year deal, sustained the problem in a training session ahead of the 30-25 warm-up win at Cardiff Blues.
Hill had chosen not to reveal news of Walker’s injury until receiving the results of a scan but confirmed the setback yesterday.
Walker, brought in as a replacement for Miles Benjamin, is not expected to be fit until October, meaning he will miss Aviva Premiership matches against Bath, Leicester, Gloucester, Northampton and London Irish.
Head coach Hill, who will also be without number eight Blair Cowan for Saturday’s Sixways friendly against Scarlets because of a broken hand sustained at Cardiff, said: “The one we were concerned about was Nikki.
“He’s popped his joint in an innocuous training session, not even full contact, so that’s a real disappointment to him and a big blow to us.
“We won’t see him certainly for the first month of the season which is very disappointing because he was going to come in to be one of our main strike runners.
“He’ll come back in October fully fit and we’ll just have to bide a bit of time but in the meantime it gives an opportunity to other players like Josh Drauniniu to come in and impress.
“Errie Claassens also did very well on the wing against Cardiff so somebody will always slot in and it gives them an opportunity to shine.
“But when you make a new signing like Nikki it’s a bit disappointing when he can’t play for the first month of the season. I would have liked to see him play against Bath on September 1.”
Hill is also set to make wholesale changes for Saturday’s match (3pm) as his pre-season plans continue to make progress.
New tighthead prop John Andress is expected to get his first game for Warriors, while centre Josh Matavesi is poised to start, with Shaun Perry and Andy Goode being rested.
“I think Scarlets will be a little bit stronger but we’re at home so that’s an advantage,” the Sixways boss added.
“It will be interesting to see whether the players that come in will be able to emulate the same sort of attacking potential that we saw against Cardiff.
“What we’re also asking is for them to not only try and make as many line breaks as the team did against Cardiff but to be a little more clinical when we finish those off as well.”