Wales wing Eli Walker is thrilled to be winning his first international cap on Saturday as South Africa visit Cardiff for their November opener.
Wales wing Eli Walker is delighted to be winning his first international cap on Saturday as South Africa visit Cardiff for their November opener.
The Ospreys finisher is the only uncapped member of Warren Gatland's starting line-up for the clash with the impressive Springboks.
Despite being named in the Welsh 2013 Six Nations squad, Walker did not feature on the pitch after suffering with back problems. A bulged disk forced him to go under the knife, and kept him out for the rest of the season – thereby missing Wales' two-Test tour of Japan in June.
However, the flying debutant has enjoyed a fine start to the season with the Ospreys, and will line up alongside the illustrious names of George North and Leigh Halfpenny in a dangerous trio.
“The senior guys around me have been great,” Walker told the Welsh Rugby Union website.
“They've taken me under their wing this week and more than anything, they've said to enjoy the moment as it goes pretty quickly.
“Obviously you're going to be nervous at times like in any game and it'll be the biggest crowd I've played in front of but the most important thing is to enjoy it.”
Walker is likely to line up opposite another of rugby's biggest names, Bryan Habana, who is the Springboks' all-time top Test try scorer. It's a challenge the new boy is looking forward to.
“I've been working hard with the conditioners to get back for the start of the season and I'm enjoying every minute of it,” added Walker.
“It's exciting. He (Habana) is a world class player, I looked up to him from a young age and now he's a rival. It will be a good experience and I'm relishing it.
“As a winger, I back myself against anyone on the pitch. I've got to get my head down and work hard in training all this week and look forward to the weekend.”