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JUL 23, 2014

Harlequin second rower targets success in the NRC

Harlequin lock Angus Hamilton is a contender for a spot in the inaugural Melbourne Rising squad for the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC), currently training with the extended training squad.

Born in Sydney but raised in Melbourne from the age of two, Angus Hamilton began his career with Harlequin in Primary School after his Year Four teacher assumed that he played Rugby and invited him to train with the team.

"It was partly due to my size, but more so my mother's Scottish accent," joked Hamilton.

Besides a two-year stint playing for his alma mater, Scotch College, Hamilton has been a stalwart in many strong Quins junior and senior squads, including the 2013 Premiership team.

Being developed by Harlequin from a young age stood Hamilton in good stead to lead the 2009 Combined States squad to a second place finish behind Queensland in the Australian Schoolboys competition, earning selection in the Australian Schoolboys Squad in the process.

Hamilton travelled to Scotland for a season with the Glasgow Hawks at the 2013 seasons' end.

"Over there I was living and breathing Rugby," said Hamilton. "It was a complete step up in professionalism and an insight into where I can take my playing career."

Hamilton has no illusions as to the challenges that lie ahead in making the final Rising squad and acknowledges its importance to the Victorian Rugby landscape.

"The Rising is quite critical for all the local players to have something to aspire to, while remaining close to their family," Hamilton said.

"Personally, it would allow me to continue my university studies and pursue the dream of playing professional Rugby."

Hamilton is currently juggling his Rugby commitments with studying a Bachelor of Architecture at Monash University in Caulfield.

"I've been raised to not have all your eggs in the one basket so I'll train hard and if I am fortunate enough to make the final Rising squad that will be the icing on the cake."

Hamilton has his sights set high and a newfound belief in his potential to play international Rugby.

"Anyone who plays at this level would have the wish to play with the Wallabies.

"I think it will take a few years but we will definitely see a few Victorians playing at the highest level as a result of the Rising's presence in the NRC."

Consistent involvement with the Rising has broadened Hamilton's idea of the demands of a professional athlete, both on and off the field.

"The level of professionalism from everyone involved is so high," stated Hamilton.

"You have to be able to do your job and the coaches bring the expectation that you have done the extra work to training every week."

With the entire Victorian Rugby community invested heavily in the success of the Rising, Hamilton believes that the franchises' future is in good hands.

"The Victorian Rugby community is quite strong on a personal level - everyone knows everyone - and the Rising will only strengthen and build that community."

Hamilton described the Rising squad training as the ingredient that has been missing in order to bridge the gap between Victorian Rugby and the rest of the country.

"The intensity at training makes itapparent that the lack of conditioning has been holding Victorians back."

Despite the challenge, the Rising training has enabled players from the various teams in the Dewar Shield competition to become acquainted.

"At training you make some good mates from the other teams, but on Saturdays when we get on the field against each other, it's a different story," joked Hamilton.

Being able to train with players at the highest professional level hasn't phased Hamilton as many of his childhood friends are currently playing in the Super Rugby competition.

"You often forget you're speaking with a guy who plays at the top," said Hamilton.

"The Rebels are all very encouraging and supportive of the Dewar Shield players so we get along well."

This article was posted on 24-Jul-2014, 20:09 by Hugh Barrow.

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