Celtic Challenge: Walker runs into some great form with Edinburgh Rugby

Gary Heatly

The dust has settled now on the Celtic Challenge for 2024, but having had a taste of playing regularly at that level Edinburgh Rugby back-rower Freya Walker wants more of it going forward.

The 21-year-old Watsonians player started the tournament on the bench, but then had quite a run of games at No.8 and impressed alongside Merryn Gunderson and Alex Stewart.

Walker carried well for the capital side in attack as they finished second in the six-team competition behind the Irish Wolfhounds. She was also strong defensively and became quite a key player for them as the matches went along.

“I really enjoyed the Edinburgh programme, it was such a step up and plying for such a high profile team was amazing,” Walker said.

“Training in that environment and with that group of players including internationalists pushed everyone on and I think we grew as a team as things went along.

“And playing home games at Hive Stadium in front of good crowds was a great feeling.

“People were coming up and asking is for autographs and selfies after home matches which was quite surreal, but the crowds were great and we all loved it.

“I started the competition on the bench and then managed to get a few starts under my belt and that really helped me to grow in confidence. In general, the pack came together really well too.”

Walker began playing rugby at Wallace High School and then got involved with the Stirling County age-grade set up.

When she headed through to the capital to begin studying at Edinburgh Napier University she joined Watsonians and she has helped the Myresiders to be one of the top women’s club sides during the time since then.

She has also spent a semester abroad in San Diego and she played rugby out in the United States at that time.

“I have loved rugby ever since I first started playing and over the last few years I have really enjoyed it,” the former Scotland under-18 cap who has more recently played for Scottish Futures, added.

“This is such a good time to be involved in the women’s game and I am just always trying to learn as much as I can from all of the environments that I am in.”

Walker takes inspiration from her former Watsonians team mate Francesca McGhie who is now a Scotland regular.

“Franny is one of my best friends and seeing what she has done with Scotland is an inspiration to many of us,” Walker, now in her final semester studying a sports science degree, said.

“Playing for my country one day is a goal of mine for sure.”

Thanks to N50 Photography for the image of Freya Walker playing recently for Edinburgh Rugby

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