512 days. That’s how long it had been between Murphy Walker’s last two appearances for Glasgow Warriors.

In between that, he did pick up a Scotland cap against Italy but injuries have hampered the highly-rated prop.

He returned to action with 30 minutes against the Bulls in South Africa on Saturday before being replaced as part of a pre-planned triple change by Franco Smith.

It wasn’t an easy time on the sidelines for Walker. It started with a neck injury during Smith’s first season in charge. He did return to fitness before the end of the campaign but with Glasgow involved in the play-offs and the Challenge Cup Final, he didn’t make an appearance.

A torn calf stopped him at the start of this season and then he tore his quad muscle a week before he was due to return to action. If all that wasn’t bad enough, he then started to gain fitness in an ‘A’ team game against Edinburgh but 15 minutes into it he injured his knee and was kept out of action again.

That was the moment that everything really hit him and he knew he had even more work to do before he got back to action in a Warriors shirt.

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“That was genuinely one of the toughest moments of my life”, admitted Walker.

“I think it was the first time I have cried in front of the boys and in front of Franco in the physio room, so that was definitely one of my toughest moments.

“The support system at Glasgow is amazing. They have everything in line if you need to speak to someone. Personally, the boys got around me pretty well and my family as well.

“And deep down I know that injuries are part of the job so it’s something I’ve just got roll with, and I kept saying that ‘I am doing my dream job which I love, so as much as the injuries are frustrating, I can’t really complain that much.’

“My physio, Michael Clarke, was amazing for the second and third time round, by setting me little goals here and there which kept me driving on to get back fit.”

The return to action for Glasgow Warriors came as a bit of a surprise for Walker though. He had just been announced as signing a new two-year deal and wasn’t expecting to be named in the starting XV by Smith.

The fact he was came as a shock and he admits it felt like he was making his first ever appearance all over again.

Scotland Rugby News: Murphy Walker

He said: “It was good, it was a strange day because I didn’t know how to feel before the game, it was almost like a debut again. I didn’t know whether to get nervous, excited, scared … all these emotions were flushed into one.

“But it felt good to get out there. It was obviously a tough place to go, 28 degrees with altitude, and Bulls at home, is always going to be a tough ask. But for a first game back, it was good to get chucked in there and I felt decent while I was playing.

“We’d been doing a lot of training, using a lot of science, Franco has organised a specific plan for us we’ve been working to over the last eight weeks, so you did feel it – I won’t lie – and I was knackered at parts, but it was more the training we’d done for the last eight weeks helped how quick we can recover after being in that stage where you are absolutely blowing.

“So, I think I felt pretty good. There were times when I was struggling. But I think everyone on the park was at those points – and it was good to get my first game back against the Bulls and I am very grateful for it.

“I was very surprised that I was playing. I was fully ready to go if selected. And now that I’ve got that game under the belt, I just can’t wait for the next few games coming up, especially with the play-offs coming up. I haven’t played in a knock-out game for years – probably schoolboy would be the last time – so that really excites me, as it does the rest of the boys.”

The new deal for Murphy was put on the table for him and he had no doubts in his mind about signing it.

He continued: “I am obviously very grateful that Glasgow wanted to keep me on. It was kind of a no-brainer for me. After the last couple of years I felt within myself that I owe something, not just to the coaches here but the fans and also the boys, to show that I want to contribute.

“And the last couple of years has really accentuated that, because when you are sitting on the sidelines watching the boys go so well, you just want to be  a part of it.

“When Glasgow are at top of the log – at number one – and we are going to be competing for trophies every year, I think it was a pretty easy decision.

“Now that I am back, all I want to do is play well for Glasgow and show everyone that I am not just here to be sat on the sidelines in the injury club.”

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Given his last game before Saturday was for Scotland, does he fancy going on the summer tour of Canada, USA, Uruguay and Chile?

He replied: “Obviously it would be amazing to go on the summer tour and bet that recognition, but at the same time I’ve only played half an hour in the past year so it is nothing I am excepting.

“All I want to do with this re-signing is get back fit and get back playing well for Glasgow, and if Scotland come calling then that’s just a bonus – that’s just a cherry on top of the cake.

“I've had a chat with Gregor every so often. 

“I’ve also been speaking to Pieter de Villiers as well, I caught up with him this week. They tend do that with a lot of the boys. It is good knowing that you are still able to chat to them. 

“I worked through some scrum stuff with Pieter, especially some old foes that he remembers being South Africans, which was pretty handy.”