Harlequins centre Charlie Walker's feet have finally touched the ground in Hong Kong as he steps straight from the Under-20 Six Nations tournament into the IRB Sevens World Series with England.
The 19-year-old from Leicestershire helped England beat Ireland 20-9 at London Wasps last Friday - securing a second title in a row for Rob Hunter's side - and was heading for Heathrow and the Far East the following day.
He is likely to make his international sevens debut at some point during the March 23 to 25 Hong Kong Sevens, where Argentina, Kenya and Samoa are England's Pool A rivals.
England are fourth in the overall series, 18 points behind leaders New Zealand, and looking to cut back that advantage this weekend before the global tour heads for the Japan Sevens in Tokyo (March 31 and April 1).
"We got the win [against Ireland] and the goal we set out to do at the start of the season which was to win the Six Nations so there was a great buzz, then on Saturday I was off to Hong Kong, so it was a pretty hectic weekend but it's awesome to be here," said Walker.
"Rob Hunter and Nick Walshe had pulled me aside one lunchtime and said ‘after Ireland you'll be flying to Hong Kong to join the England Sevens boys'. I didn't know what to say, particularly because it's Hong Kong and it's one of the biggest tournaments with one of the biggest followings.
"Definitely as a younger player looking to get better you've got to play in front of big crowds, that's the way you're going to get experience and with that comes confidence and learning how you improve yourself as a player, so for me it should be a great opportunity and something to relish.
"From what I've heard this is the big one, the one you want to go to. We've been into town and down to the markets to see what Hong Kong is about. It's an unreal place and I'm really looking forward to it."
Walker, a 100-metre track finalist at the English Schools Athletics Association championships, has plenty of pace as well as the ability to make and take tries, touching down three times in the Six Nations campaign.
He has to familiarise himself with England's systems inside a week, though, and teammates are helping him get to grips with the changes.
"It's hard to get up to speed and coming into it you can tell the difference [to 15s] because they're such a small squad and they're a lot tighter and closer together," he said.
"Luckily some of the moves and calls are the same as England Under-20 so that's quite easy to pick up, but most of the guys have taken me through the moves to show me what I need to do in attack and defence, and how we're going to play."
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