Eli Walker took the man-of-the-match award on Saturday afternoon, with his eye-catching performance exciting fans and media alike as his early try set the Ospreys on their way to a bonus point win over Connacht at the Liberty Stadium.
Speaking shortly after the final whistle, the 20-year old wing said he was just pleased to be out on the pitch in an Ospreys shirt, and he paid tribute to the support of the ‘old man’ of the current back three, the experienced Richard Fussell.
“I really enjoyed it and to pick up man of the match for the first time is something special” said Walker.
“I’m just really happy to get game time at the moment, just to get out onto the pitch in an Ospreys shirt. It was disappointing to have that injury and to miss the start of the season but if I’m honest it can be used as a positive in some ways. I know it’s hard to take being injured at any time but after the U20s in the summer it allowed me to come back fresh with all guns blazing.
“I got a chance to stretch my legs a few times today, that was down to the way we tried to play, putting their guys under pressure so they kick back at us. That gives me, Fuss and Hanno a chance to run it.
“Fuss is the king of two on ones. He put me in and he made the second try as well. He knows the ins and outs of the game and he’s a great help to me and Hanno with his experience, he’s really helping the two of us.”
With the Welsh international contingent now firmly ensconced in their Polish training camp, the focus for the next month or so will be on squad depth at the Liberty and the Ospreys’ younger contingent and Walker has no doubt that there’ll be other fledglings following in his footsteps, saying:
“It’s an exciting time. It always is at this time of the year when the boys get the chance to prove themselves, youngsters like me get to step up to senior level and test ourselves.
“There’s a few boys, people like Luke Morgan and Ross Jones, who are keen to get a start and there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll get an opportunity during November and will really prove themselves.”