Rugby star Rob Hawkins has battled with the best in front of 80,000 roaring fans at Twickenham – but his nerves were never more keenly felt than when he kicked off a career conversion as the borough’s burliest bobby on the beat.
The Newcastle Falcons player swapped his rugby kit for a policeman’s vest yesterday for his first shift as a special constable in South Tyneside.
I have played in front of 80,000 people at Twickenham but i was more nervous for my first day as a special constable.
The super-fit 32-year-old is used to laying down the law on the playing fields – but he is keen to learn the ropes as he bids to help tackle crime.
Rob, who has also turned out for Bath and Leicester Tigers during an impressive 14-year career, isn’t hanging up his rugby boots just yet as he combines playing on the pitch with pounding the pavements of South Shields.
But the hulking hooker has an eye on life after rugby and is keen to follow in family footsteps.
He said: “Policing is in the family, as my grandad was a Chief Superintendent with Avon and Somerset Police.
“As a rugby player you have a lot of time off, so I am able to combine playing with volunteering as a special constable.
“I am looking to do at least one shift a week. It is a great way to get an insight into policing in general.
“It is a bit of a culture shock but I think there are many transferrable skills between being a professional athlete and being part of the police, as both share similar ethics and values.
“I have played in front of 80,000 people at Twickenham in a Premiership final but I was more nervous for my first day as a special constable.”