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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.''

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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