Meet the former hurler who is now tipped for big things on the rugby pitch

Leinster and Ireland U20 back David Hawkshaw

Date of birth 3 July 1999 Born Dublin Province Leinster Country Ireland Position Ten/centre

When did you first play rugby?

I was about six. My older brother played at Coolmine so I followed in his footsteps. I also started hurling when I was pretty young and played for St Brigid’s.

When did you have to choose between the two?

Only about a year and a half ago. I was able to keep going with both and I’m happy I kept it up as long as I could. I love both sports, but I always knew I wanted to go down the rugby route. From a young age it was always rugby; growing up I’d watch the likes of Brian O’Driscoll and Ronan O’Gara.

Has hurling helped your rugby?

In a big way. There are a lot of little things that relate to rugby, like movement.

You grew up playing fly-half but are at inside-centre for Ireland U20…

I don’t have a preference; I’m happy wherever I’m put. It’s a new learning experience.

Leinster and Ireland U20 back David Hawkshaw

Leading men: David Hawkshaw lifts the U20 Six Nations trophy with fellow captain Charlie Ryan (Getty Images)

When did you link up with Leinster?

At U17s, a big pool of players came in to train twice a week in the summer. The year after we had U18 interpros, which were more competitive. I’ve been in the academy since I left school last summer.

Do you get to work with Johnny Sexton, Garry Ringrose and Co?

Not at the minute but I’m lucky enough to watch them in sessions and take all that in.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your career?

Definitely my school (Belvedere College) head coach, Phil Werahiko. He taught me a lot off the pitch as well as on the pitch, like becoming a better person. He’d push you to do your best off and on the pitch.

What’s it like to captain Ireland U20?

An incredible honour. The best thing is there are 15 leaders out on the pitch, everyone pushes each other and pushes standards.

What do you do away from rugby?

I’m doing an arts degree at DCU and want to go into teaching at some stage. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about.

RW VERDICT: Hawkshaw helped Belvedere College to back-to-back Leinster Schools Cups and he prides himself on his work-rate. He captained Ireland in the first three rounds of their Grand Slam-winning Six Nations campaign before injury struck.

This article originally appeared in the April 2019 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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