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New Harlequins deal for potential new England cap Jack Walker

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mark Evans/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Jack Walker has inked a contract extension with Harlequins in the same week that he dramatically jumped up the selection pecking order with England. The 26-year-old was one of five uncapped players included when Steve Borthwick named his 36-strong squad on January 16 for the upcoming Guinness Six Nations.

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With Luke Cowan-Dickie ruled out for the tournament due to his recent injury with Exeter, the three hookers selected by Borthwick for this week’s five-day preparation camp at Pennyhill Park were the seasoned Jamie George, who has 72 caps, along with uncapped duo George McGuigan and Jack Walker.

However, the personnel involved has quickly changed this week. McGuigan was ruled out on Monday with a knee injury and was replaced by the three-cap Tom Dunn, who last played for England in November 2020. Then came the confirmation on Tuesday that George was now also out of the squad due to a weekend concussion. His place went to the six-cap Jamie Blamire, who was last briefly capped off the bench in the 2022 Six Nations.

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The reshuffle suggests that Walker, who toured Australia last July, is now very much a contender to make his England debut versus Scotland on February 4. In the meantime, the ex-Yorkshire and Bath front-rower has agreed to extend his stay at Harlequins.

A statement read: “Jack Walker has signed a new deal with Harlequins. He joined Harlequins ahead of the 2021/22 season from Premiership rivals Bath, making an instant impact as he established himself as one of the form hookers in the Gallagher Premiership.”

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Walker said: “It’s great to sign a new deal with Harlequins. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my first two seasons since starting with this team. Being in this club and squad has been nothing but a fantastic experience. Playing in knockout rugby and receiving a call-up to the national side have been highlights of my time with Harlequins so far, but this is a hugely enjoyable place to come in to work at every day. This is an exciting team to be a part of and I’m looking forward to what comes next.”

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Jerry Flannery, the Harlequins lineout and defence coach, added: “Jack continues to be a standout presence in the front row and we’re delighted to have him re-sign. His set-piece work is always reliable and he remains a huge asset to this club both on and off the field.

“Being selected for England is a testament to his hard work and dedication. At just 26 he has an incredibly exciting career ahead of him and we’re thrilled that he has made the decision to continue it at Quins.”

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