Lance Robert Walker
- 629Wallaby Number
Lance Walker started his senior rugby career at prop before Parramatta coach Peter Fenton suggested he may be better suited to hooker. Fentons’ was sage advice indeed. Walker proved so adept in the No.2 jersey that he soon joined the top tier of hookers in the country.
Born in Sydney and educated at Cumberland High School, Walker played his first rugby with Dundas Valley U11s as a lock. After school he played a season with all age Dundas Valley Seniors in the Sydney sub district competition, moved on to Colts at Parramatta in 1975, and then graduated to First Grade with the Two Blues in 1976.
Amazingly, despite playing at prop, Walker’s first taste of representative rugby in 1979 was as a flanker for Sydney against Australian Services. When Walker eventually shifted to hooker in 1980 he developed a strong rivalry with Randwick’s Bruce Malouf. Ultimately it was Malouf’s misfortune that provided Walker with his shot at higher honours. In 1981 Malouf played for both Sydney and NSW against France. He made the Test squad during that series and as such it was no surprise when he won selection for the Wallabies’ 1981-82 tour to Britain.
Unfortunately, Malouf did not play a single game after he suffered a hairline fracture above his ankle in a pre-tour training session in London. As a consequence Walker was called into the squad, played in ten uncapped matches and returned home a far better player for the experience.
A year later the Wallaby squad to tour New Zealand was light on experience after Queensland rake Bill Ross and eight of his fellow Queenslanders declared they were unavailable for selection due to financial reasons. Both Walker and Malouf made the trip however it was Malouf who wore the No.2 jersey for the opening Test in Christchurch. Australia lost 16-23 and in response coach Bob Dwyer made two front-row changes for Wellington, one of which was Walker at hooker. The Wallabies stunning 19-16 victory proved more than enough for the front three to be retained for the third and deciding Test in Auckland.
Lance Walker played two Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Walker won his first Test cap alongside Andy McIntyre and John Meadows in the 2nd Test, 19-16 victory over New Zealand in Wellington. He retained his spot for the 3rd Test, 18-33 loss in Auckland.