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Pair pull plug as sparkies for a shot at Brumbies

ACT club players Matt Hawke and Sam Windsor training with the Brumbies at Brumbies HQ.

ACT club players Matt Hawke and Sam Windsor training with the Brumbies at Brumbies HQ. Photo: Melissa Adams

They usually spend their days as sparkies around Canberra but Sam Windsor and Matt Hawke are adamant putting work and life on hold to chase their Super Rugby dreams is worth the risk.

Windsor, Hawke and five other players from Canberra's premier division have taken leave from their day jobs to train full-time with the ACT Brumbies in a draining pre-season schedule.

It's a giant leap from the John I Dent Cup to a professional program.

But after fearing his Brumbies and Super Rugby chance had passed by him, Queanbeyan Whites playmaker Windsor is determined to make the most of his second opportunity.

Windsor was in the Brumbies Academy four years ago.

However, he moved to Sydney and played in London for two years before returning to the Whites line-up this season. He is about to start a university degree.

The Brumbies program and the opportunities given to club rugby players was one of the major reasons Windsor decided to return.

''I thought I had exhausted my options here [in 2008], but I thought it was a good time to come back. It was a no-brainer when they asked if we wanted to be involved,'' the 25-year-old said.

''I've never been involved in anything of this calibre. There's a big step from amateur rugby to even semi-professional, but hopefully this opens doors down the track.

''I weighed up the options and you've got to take certain risks and sacrifice some things if you want to make it and I'm happy to take that hit to try to get myself further along.''

When Brumbies coach Jake White took over the Super Rugby coaching job, he made a concerted effort to boost the Canberra competition.

The Brumbies players were divided up among the Canberra clubs instead of having players return to play in Sydney or Brisbane.

Australian Schoolboy representatives Andrew Robinson and Tom Staniforth have also been given the opportunity to train in White's squad.

But while Wests made the John I Dent Cup grand final, none of that club's players have been picked to train with the full-time squad.

The Brumbies had a long injury list after last season and White has opted to promote club players to increase the size of his squad for the pre-season.

Hawke has been one of the Gungahlin Eagles' best over the past few seasons and is also a qualified electrician.

But he had no hesitation delaying his tradesman life to train with the Brumbies in order to open Super Rugby and overseas doors to potential contracts.

''This is something you've been wanting to do since you were a kid … I'm pretty confident [it will lead to something], I'm here to become a better footballer and at this stage I'm getting better and better each day which is good.

''Jake makes it clear we're here to work. It's not a party. You can't put one foot wrong here … you have to meet every deadline.''

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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