Eli aiming to pick up where he left off

Eli Walker says he's hoping to start next season with a bang after his breakthrough campaign for the region ended as something of a damp squib, surgery on his back ending his season prematurely.

The 21-year old flier made a huge impact in a year that was bookended byinjuries, having actually missed the first month of 2012/13 through a shoulder injury, but his five tries in 13 games including a matchwinner against French giants Toulouse have a clear indication of the potential he hopes to display next season. Looking forward to the new season, Walker said:

"It was a tough 12 months in many ways, missing the start of the season with the shoulder and the end with the back. When I was playing I think I was pretty effective and did a job for the team. That's why I want to push on now and get a good season under my belt.

"If I get a full pre-season in then hopefully I can start with a bang and carry on where I left off. I haven't played since the Leicester game in January so I've got a lot of catching up to do but as long as my rehab goes to plan I'm in a pretty good place for next season.

"Rehab's going pretty well at the moment. There was a spell just after the op that I had to take it easy but I've turned the corner now and kicked on well. I'm looking forward to the pre-season now and being a part of the group at the start of the season hopefully."

The emotions of a rollercoaster season for the youngster could be summed up by his experiences at the end of January when he received his first ever call-up for senior international duty, named in Wales' Six Nations squad, only for injury to rule him out of action for the season before having a chance to shine in Welsh colours.

"It was a very quick high and low to be honest" he admitted.

"I had the call up and within the week I'd strained my hamstring in training so I went into camp for rehab. It didn't get any better and it turned out I had an underlying problem with my back so to sort my hammy out I had to sort my back out. I've had the op now and I'm just looking forward to next season and getting back onto the pitch as soon as possible.

"You have to take both sides in your stride. There were definitely quite nice highs during the season, playing consistently against some good teams and scoring tries regularly, but the nature of the game is that you will get injured and that means you're stuck in rehab. That's rugby, it's one of those things, and hopefully I can kick on and have a good, injury free season."