By Mike Appleton, Date: 10/10/13
A SUPER LEAGUE debut for your home team and now the chance to represent your country in the World Cup… It’s not been a bad year for Anthony Walker!
The 21-year-old prop forward has had a remarkable season. He got the nod for Saints back in February – making his debut away at Bradford – and went on to make eight more appearances.
Now, he’s been called up for Wales for the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup.
“My granddad is Welsh so I qualify through him and it is something I have always wanted to do,” he said. “When I started playing rugby I wanted to represent Wales as my granddad was a big influence on my career.
“I put my name forward earlier in the season and when I got the message I was in the initial 40 man squad I thought that was a good achievement.
“But when Iestyn [Harris] called me to say I had made the final cut I was shocked… but it was a nice surprise.
“Being 21 and playing in a World Cup, in your own country, that is something you can tell the grandkids about when you’re older. Not many people have done that.
“I now have to work hard in training and in our friendly game to have a real shout.”
Wales will take on Italy at the Millennium Stadium on October 26th, USA in Wrexham on November 3rd and the Cook Islands in Neath on November 10th and Walker is excited by all three clashes.
“It would be good to get selected to play against Italy. Not only will it be in the Millennium Stadium and in front of a packed house, but I would also be up against my teammate Anthony Laffranchi. It’s always good to face your mates.
“The game against USA would be big for me too. I would have a lot of family in Wrexham supporting me and that would make me proud.
“Cook Islands will be a tough match. I played against some of the Islanders when I was on tour in Australia with Saints Academy and they certainly let you know you’ve been in a tackle. It was brutal.”
Anthony met up with this team-mates yesterday (Wednesday October 9) at Colwyn Bay and will move on to Celtic Manor for the tournament following next week’s friendly match. He hopes he will be allowed to take his golf clubs too!
“I’m looking forward to the experience,” he adds. “We want to do well and we know if we get though the group then we could possibly face Australia or England in the quarter finals at Wrexham.
“That would be special. Every player wants to face the best in the world and we want to do that.”
Wales play a warm-up match against a Wales Rugby League Select XIII at Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay on October 15th (kick-off 6pm). Tickets are £10 seated, £5 standing. Call 01492 577900 for more information or go to www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk.