‘Remember, Remember, the 5th of November’ - the Walker clan certainly will

The Walker family had a day to remember at BT Murrayfield on Saturday, November 5
©Murphy Walker Instagram

In October, Murphy Walker turned 23 and now, in November, he has earned his first full Scotland cap.

The prop, who can play either side of the scrum, has had to bide his time with Glasgow Warriors and Scotland, but now big moments with both have come for him in a matter of months.

The Scarlets-Glasgow URC match in March 2022 may not live long in the memory for many - especially the Warriors supporters as the Welsh side came out on top 35-10 - but for Walker it was an important step on his journey.

When loosehead Oli Kebble was forced off after 10 minutes through injury, Walker came on and showed over the next 70 minutes what he could do.

During that game he also played tighthead for a spell and it was a bit of a breakthrough moment for a player whose pro Glasgow debut had come in October 2021 versus the Sharks.

After the showing against the Scarlets, he was called-up to train with the Scotland squad ahead of their Six Nations match with Ireland.

That led onto a summer tour place on which he earned a Scotland ‘A’ cap against Chile, but was not required in the three Tests versus Argentina.

Good things come to those who wait though and last Saturday he trotted off the bench to replace Zander Fagerson at tighthead for the last 11 minutes in the Autumn Nations Series win over Fiji at BT Murrayfield.

The man himself said it was “a moment my parents and I won’t forget”, so what did his parents make of it?

“It was just a real thrill to see him running onto the pitch because we know how hard he has worked for this,” mum Pam told TRU.

“I think I was a bit less nervous in the stadium on Saturday because he was on the bench rather than starting. It meant that we could take it all in and then watch him come on, but as the clock keeps ticking you do start to wonder if the chance will come.

“As soon as we saw him taking off his tracksuit bottoms we knew his chance was coming and he was straight into the action with a few scrums which was good and will have settled him down.

“The summer tour was a good experience for him and over the last few months with Glasgow and the national team he has gained more and more experience, but having seen his close friend Ollie Smith earn caps recently, we knew how keen he was keen to join him.

“It was just so nice to be in the ground when the moment came with a big group of family and friends while Murphy had lots of other friends there too, so there were lots of smiles afterwards.”

Amongst the 11-strong group of supporters with Pam and her husband Neil at the game were Walker’s siblings Logie, Topaz, Brook, Buzby and Pebbles, family friends Dot and Bob Tinning and Logie and Brook’s respective partners Beca and Lewis.

“It just seems like yesterday we were taking him down to Dundee Eagles”

After the 28-12 lunchtime victory, Walker’s parents were invited into the Scotland dressing room to witness their son being presented his cap by the aforementioned Fagerson.

When Walker was at Strathallan School, Fagerson was a few years older than him and at the time was a ball carrying No.8 who the youngster looked up to.

As a result, it was fitting that he was the man to present Walker with the cap and Neil said:  “It was nice that we were invited into the dressing room for that moment and the camaraderie in the group was there for all to see.

“For myself, seeing Murphy come on and then seeing him get his cap afterwards was a bit surreal to be honest.

“It just seems like yesterday we were taking him down to Dundee Eagles to play mini rugby after Pam had spotted an advert in The Courier newspaper.

“Like many parents at mini level, I was soon involved coaching and I did that for a few years before Murphy was leaving our local Longforgan Primary School to head to Strathallan.

“He loved his time at school there and having guys like Zander, Jamie Ritchie, George Horne and others to look up to helped his rugby and his desire to reach the top.

“One of the big issues we had as he kept growing - and growing more - was getting rugby boots to fit him.

“Pam and myself must have been to every sports shop there was at the time, but size 18 boots are not easy to come by.

“I had to start looking online and we got some American football boots from the USA, but that had to be re-studded and weren’t ideal, so you can imagine my delight when, from Scotland under-18 level, Scottish Rugby said they’d help source appropriate boots!

“Seriously though, it has been great to watch him get to where he is.”

“Murphy really has worked hard to get where he is now” 

In 2017/18, Walker captained a Strathallan team - including the aforementioned Smith and Leicester Tigers second-row Cameron Henderson - to Scottish Schools under-18 Cup glory at Murrayfield.

Since then, he has played senior rugby for Dundee Rugby, Stirling County, Scotland under-20s, Stirling Wolves, Glasgow and now Scotland.

Due to injuries and the form of players in front of him at the latter two he has had to show patience. 

“We have always told all of our kids to give 100 percent and work hard in their chosen fields because you never know who is watching,” Pam, whose birthday it is today [Thursday], continues. 

“If you do that and enjoy it then it is worth it whatever level you reach - and Murphy really has worked hard to get where he is now.

“We are very proud of him”.

We will find out whether Walker keeps his place in the matchday 23 to take on New Zealand on Sunday on Friday.

And whatever happens, the Walker family will always ‘Remember, Remember, the 5th of November’ as the old Guy Fawkes Night song goes.