Newtown Firefighter gets second chance at professional rugby

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Newtown Firefighter gets second chance at professional rugby

James on 2nd Chance Charlie


James Cockburn is a career firefighter at Newtown Station, but recently you might have seen his face on your TV screens and billboards as he competes on 2nd Chance Charlie.


He has been competing with five others for a chance to win a 12-week development and training programme with his chosen Super Rugby team - the Hurricanes, including mentoring and coaching from top Super Rugby staff and a $10,000 cash prize.


“I’ve played rugby since I was five with Tawa Rugby Club and have had a couple of international contracts in Netherlands and Scotland but it’s always been a dream to play professionally in New Zealand,” says James.


“The highlight of this experience would be getting to train with the hurricanes and experience what it’s like to be a professional ruby player.”


“The biggest challenge would have been sticking to my diet during the whole competition and during lockdown.


“But I made it work. My crew and family have been very supportive and I’ve been able to fit in the training around my shifts and being on station.”


Firefighting runs in the blood for James. His Great Grandfather was a previous Chief at the Roslyn Station in Dunedin and his Grandfather was born in that fire station. His brother Tony is currently a career firefighter at Thorndon Station and cousin Mike is a career firefighter in Christchurch. His Uncle Glen Cockburn was also a volunteer Chief at Rolleston for over 30 years.


Watch James’ journey Wednesday and Thursday nights on TV3 after The Project or on ThreeNow.


You can also vote for James to win the people’s choice award and be in to win yourself a Super Rugby prize pack.