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By ARU Media Unit
Australian Rugby Union today announced former Gold Coast Titan, Shannon Walker, had signed an Australian Sevens contract with ARU and would join the Australian Sevens Squad this weekend.
Walker is the second NRL player to make the decision to sign an Australian Sevens contract after former Brisbane Bronco, Denan Kemp, joined the Australian Sevens squad in April this year.
A 23 year old fullback and winger, Walker made his debut for the Titans in 2008 and said while he enjoyed his time at the Gold Coast based NRL club the idea of playing Rugby Sevens for Australia was an opportunity too good to refuse.
“I really enjoyed my time at the Titans and I learnt a lot but when I looked at Sevens and looked at the opportunities it provides to tour the world and represent Australia at the Olympics I couldn’t really turn down the idea,” Walker said.
“The time was right for me to make a decision and I thank the Titans for their support and ARU and the Sevens coaching staff for showing faith in me and giving me an opportunity to prove I deserve an Australian Sevens jersey.
“I know there is a lot of hard work ahead, but I am looking forward to the challenge and hopefully realising the dream of securing that Sevens jersey and hopefully in 2016 a Gold Medal when the game returns to the Olympics.”
Walker said his first goal was to make the squad for the first leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, which will be held on the Gold Coast on November 25-26, so he could make his Australian debut in the city he has called home for the last five years.
“The idea of making that first side to play in the first Gold Coast tournament would be fantastic, especially because I’d be playing in front fans that have followed and supported me since I first came to Gold Coast,” Walker said.
“There has been a lot of talk and excitement around the Gold Coast Sevens and it would be a great experience to be part of that.”
Australian Sevens Coach, Michael O’Connor, welcomed Walker to the squad and said it was exciting to have another player from a rival code making the decision to come across to Sevens.
“Shannon has shown great potential in his short time with the Titans, potential I am sure will translate well to Rugby Sevens,” O’Connor said.
“It is very exciting to see him want to further his sporting career in an Australian Sevens jersey.
“He is now the second NRL convert to join us this year after Denan came across in April and it is a testament to the game to think players from other codes are looking at Sevens and liking what they see.
“When you consider there is the opportunity to represent your country not just on the iRB Sevens World Series circuit but also at a Commonwealth and ultimately Olympic level, it’s no surprise that Shannon has joined Denan and made the decision to join the Australian Sevens ranks.
“This will be a great challenge for Shannon and I look forward to being able to offer him an opportunity to further his Rugby career on the international circuit and hopefully one day the Olympic stage as well.”
Tom Kingston was nearly a Sevens player five years ago, just as he entered the professional rugby ranks.