Warrior to Warrior | Kalman proud of protege Walker
There would undoubtedly have been a sizable grin on the face of Ed Kalman when the news of Murphy Walker’s first professional contract was announced across social media.
With 101 appearances across a seven-year spell at the club, the former Glasgow Warriors tight-head hasn’t been idle in his retirement, though. Far from it.
Now teaching physics at Strathallan School, the club centurion was singled out by Walker as one of the key influences in his career to date, having played under Kalman during his time at the Perthshire institution.
“I’ve known Murphy for about seven or eight years now,” smiled Kalman.
“He was the captain of our Scottish Schools Cup-winning team back in 2017/18 and from a playing point of view, he was just an outstanding young prop.
“He’s also just an outstanding young man, though. He was one of the best schoolboy leaders I’ve ever come across – he led by example and was an inspirational character within that group.
“It was a pretty special group, too. [Glasgow Warriors full-back] Ollie Smith and [Leicester Tigers second-rower] Cameron Henderson were in that team too, and it was only a matter of time before Murphy followed those guys in turning professional.”
Whilst the young tight-head had to wait an extra while to follow in the footsteps of his mentor due to injury, there was never any doubt for Kalman that Walker would one day be pulling on a Glasgow Warriors jersey.
Indeed, one performance in particular solidified that belief in the 39-year-old’s mind.
“He really was sensational in his last year with us,” said Kalman.
“We played George Watson’s in the semi-finals of the Schools Cup, and his performance that day really cemented in my mind the size of potential that he had.
💬 "My family is buzzing - my dad wants to shout it from the rooftops but I had to tell him to keep it quiet until it was official!"@Murphywalker99 was grinning from ear to ear as he sat down to chat after signing his first professional contract.#WhateverItTakes ⚔️🛡️ pic.twitter.com/0gHdZ1P0Tt
— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) January 11, 2022
“That was certainly the day that I thought that he could go all the way to the top of the game.”
With Walker having made his Glasgow Warriors debut earlier this season by coming off the bench against the Cell C Sharks, a trip to Scotstoun to watch both his former club and protégé is on the agenda for Kalman.
The former Warrior’s pride in Walker’s development is evident, and he has no doubt that this is just the beginning of the young prop’s professional journey.
“All young props rely on scrummaging as their bread and butter. Murphy’s always had great all-round skills, but over the last few years I’ve watched him from afar and seen his scrummaging improve massively,” explained Kalman.
“That’s testament to just how hard he works, both on and off the field.
“He was a real role model to his fellow students during his time here [at Strathallan], and I’m absolutely chuffed to see him doing as well as he’s doing.”