Rugby Union: Walker thrills in home run

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The Independent Online
THERE was no dream ending to Nigel Walker's debut appearance at Cardiff Arms Park, but there was enough evidence to suggest that the former Olympic high hurdler could become a more than useful rugby player. Bridging a 10- year gap in his rugby career that was filled with appearances at all the major athletics championships, the 29-year-old added spice to the Worthington Welsh Sevens with his searing pace.

It was enough to bring him eight tries in four matches, taking his tally in two pre-season tournaments to 17, but not quite good enough to take the host club into the final. Instead, they let a 19-5 semi-final advantage over Newbridge slip to a 24-19 defeat.

As for Walker, arguably the fastest man in world rugby with a best time for the 100 metres of 10.35 sec, there was at least the chance to show what he could do in front of the Welsh selectors. Despite the rawness of his talent, it would be no surprise if he was included in the Welsh squad for the World Sevens next April.

Another prime candidate will be David Manley, the Newbridge wing who eventually went on to upstage Walker with nine tries. Three of them came in the semi- final against Cardiff and two more followed in the 28-24 win over Swansea, the defending champions in the final. If they had looked down against Cardiff, Newbridge were virtually out as Swansea raced 24-0 ahead. But Manley and Steve Fealey had other ideas as they each grabbed two tries.

WORTHINGTON WELSH SEVENS: Preliminary Round: Cardiff 45 Pontypridd 0; Penarth 0 Aberavon 47. First Round: Cardiff 45 Aberavon 5; Bridgend 24 Neath 7; Tredegar 12 Maesteg 27; Newbridge 29 Cross Keys 7; Glamorgan Wanderers 24 Pontypool 5; South Wales Police 19 Abertillery 7; Ebbw Vale 14 Swansea 36; Newport 10 Llanelli 21. Quarter Finals: Cardiff 15 Bridgend 5; Maesteg 7 Newbridge 26; Glamorgan Wanderers 10 South Wales Police 21; Swansea 22 Llanelli 17. Semi-Finals: Cardiff 19 Newbridge 24; South Wales Police 19 Swansea 26. Final: Newbridge 28 Swansea 24.