Rugby was the last thing on Kwok Ka-chun's mind as he battled to save a passenger trapped in a car crash in Sai Kung. It was the same for Tsang Hing-hung as he tried to tackle a drunken brawler on the streets of Wan Chai. A game which both love had to take a back seat as the fireman and policeman came to grips with life's challenges. But the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union is hoping Kwok and Tsang can become poster boys in the local community and also lead a campaign to recruit more players from within the two services. Fireman Kwok and police constable Tsang have represented Hong Kong at the highest level at 15s and sevens. But rugby has been on the backburner for the past two years as the pair have pursued their fledgling careers. Today they are on the comeback trail, but it is proving harder for Kwok who is facing a more difficult task trying to juggle the demands of work and play. Picked, along with Tsang, for the 31-strong national squad which will leave next Wednesday for a training trip to Brisbane, Kwok has been forced to pull out. 'I don't think I'll be able to go as I can't get the time off,' says 23-year-old Kwok, a 1.84 metre and 98kg lock forward who prefers to play as a flanker. 'I want to play again for Hong Kong. I'll have to find the time and commit myself for training.' Luckily for Tsang, there's a long tradition of rugby in the police department. The lawmen started to make their presence felt in Hong Kong just before the second world war, and as such his path is not strewn with the many obstacles Kwok has had to face in the fire services where the game is just catching hold. In the 1970s and '80s, police had a strong presence in the First Division and were always a top contender for the league title. The HKRFU has had a long line of policemen in its hierarchy, including chairman Don Watson, Peter Else, a long-standing secretary, and Peter Burbidge-King, a former tournament director of the Hong Kong Sevens. This history has made it easier for Tsang, also aged 23. 'My district commander, Blake Hancock, supports me a lot. He knows I play rugby and always talks to me,' said the nifty outside centre, who has been able to fit the four-day Brisbane trip into his work schedule. Although Tsang has a long way to go to match the feats of legendary policeman Dave Lewis, who is the most-capped Hong Kong international, he is the only policeman in the national squad which was once replete with men in blue. 'I want to concentrate on winning back my place in the 15s squad first, but I will also be targeting to play sevens at next year's East Asian Games as well as the 2010 Asian Games,' said Tsang. Both Tsang and Kwok made their Hong Kong debuts in 2005 against Singapore. The following year, they figured in the World Cup Asian qualifiers against Japan, South Korea, China and Sri Lanka. 'We hope they can pick up from where they left off,' says Ivan Torpey, HKRFU's head of performance. 'They are both core players in our 15s and sevens programme and we have invested a lot in their development.' Kwok is one of 70 firemen at the Sai Kung fire station. He last played for Hong Kong at the 2006 Hong Kong Sevens. Soon after, he realised his boyhood dream of becoming a fireman when he was accepted as a trainee and has spent the last 2? years learning how to put out fires. 'Not so much fires, but more traffic accidents and rescuing people in the country parks as I'm based in Sai Kung. I always wanted to be a fireman. When I was small, I saw a programme on TV about firemen and that has been my dream since,' says Kwok. He has already come face to face with death, having seen a number of people killed in horrific accidents. He also knows the dangers of being a firemen - in August, two of his colleagues died trying to rescue people from a burning building. 'I don't dwell too much on what might happen. I try to concentrate on my job and try to cut down the risks. I know it can be dangerous, but I have always wanted to do something where you are out there trying to help people,' he says. A three-year probation period will end next June for Kwok. He will become a fully fledged fireman then. He is one now, in all but name, working 24 hours at a stretch then taking two days off before getting back on call again. 'It is hard trying to train and play when you have this schedule,' said Kwok, who turns out for Kowloon in the First Division. 'But in the same way I love my job as a fireman, I also love rugby, and I'm determined to give it a go.' Tsang has also come face to face with danger. A fortnight after passing out as a constable on February 16, he confronted a drunk while out on the beat on the streets of Wan Chai. He had to make his first arrest. 'There is always the chance of trouble in Wan Chai in the bar area. There are so many people who drink too much and then try to create problems,' says Tsang, who plays for DeA Tigers in the First Division. 'I played for the police in the third division last season, but now I want to play at a higher level for I know if I want to win back my place in the Hong Kong team, I have to compete against the best,' said Tsang. One of 60 officers in Wan Chai's Patrol Sub-Unit 4 - the Wan Chai police station is one of the biggest on Hong Kong Island - Tsang has dreams of joining the Special Tactical Unit one day. 'Most of the time, being on the beat is fairly routine. I want to join the Tactical Unit and do something exciting. That is why I play rugby - because it is so exciting,' he says. Tsang is one of the faces on the HKRFU's 'Don't Drop the Ball' campaign - aimed at taking the game to the community. With rugby recognised as a sport by the police sports council, the path Tsang has to traverse is easier than the one Kwok has to tread. 'Our aim is to get the Fire Services Department to officially back rugby,' says Robbie McRobbie, HKRFU community manager. 'If their sports council takes rugby on board, they will provide funds and make some allowances for people like Kwok to find the time to train.' Torpey adds: 'Kwok and Tsang had to make a call on their professional careers and there has been a blip in our national programme. But they are now back and we hope they can start contributing again. 'I hope the police as well as the Fire Services departments can see the benefits of their involvement in rugby. All the publicity surrounding the Hong Kong squad will be a huge plus for both departments.' Kwok has already put the Hong Kong Fire Services on the world map. With the help of the HKRFU, the Fire Services sent a team to the World Fire Fighters Games in Liverpool in August. Kwok was in the fray in the seven-a-side competition. If Kwok and Tsang win back their berths at next year's East Asian Games, it will be a tremendous boost not only for rugby, but for their employees to see the fireman and policeman run out at Hong Kong Stadium. Hong Kong rugby will be in good hands then, for they will have one guy with fire in his belly and another who will keep the opposition in line.