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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 September, 2003, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Walker thought call-up was joke
Nikki Walker
Nikki Walker scored against South Africa last November
Nikki Walker thought that Ian McGeechan was joking when the Scotland coach told him that he had realised his dream of making the 30-man World Cup squad.

Walker was the most unexpected name to appear on McGeechan's list as the 21-year-old had not featured in any of Scotland's warm-up internationals.

"I did not think he was serious at first," admitted Walker. "We had a laugh on the phone.

"The last couple of weeks I had lost my expectations of going.

I feel I am a better player now
Borders winger Nikki Walker
"But before the season started, I was hoping I could still get on that plane and thinking that, if I performed well in the pre-season games, I would get in.

"But I still took it as a surprise when I got the phone call last night."

Walker had first sprung to prominince when scoring the decisive try as his hometown club, Hawick, won the 2002 BT Cellnet Cup final to complete a cup and league double.

He went on to score his first try for Scotland in the 21-6 triumph over South Africa in November later that year.

But he had been relegated to the Under-21s while his rivals for a place in the squad for Australia played in the Six Nations last season and then this term's warm-up games against South Africa, Italy, Wales and Ireland.

However, McGeechan gave him the nod ahead of Rory Kerr and Simon Webster after impressive form during the Under-21 World Cup during which he scored two tries in a victory over their English counterparts.

"I have just got my form back to the level I had shown to get me in the squad last autumn," Walker reasoned.

"I feel I am a better player now and I have been playing well for the Borders and I think that may have swayed it my way."

Now he is looking forward to facing the world's best this autumn.

"It means everything," he said. "It's just a dream to go to the World Cup with Scotland.

"I am still only 21 and hopefully have a lot more rugby ahead of me."





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Nikki Walker
"It's a dream come true to go to the World Cup"



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