Alex grabs Heart­land rugby op­por­tu­nity

Matamata Chronicle - - What’s On - JO LINES-MACKEN­ZIE

Alex Thrupp is mak­ing the most of an un­ex­pected phone call.

The 20-year-old for­mer Mata­mata Col­lege stu­dent has been called in the King Coun­try Rams for its Heart­land Cham­pi­onship cam­paign this sea­son.

It was all sys­tems go for the young wing/cen­tre af­ter a phone call from a se­lec­tor who had seen him play club rugby for Te Puke Sports.

‘‘The se­lec­tor said they were look­ing for some more fire power in the back­line and they were look­ing for some­one like me,’’ Thrupp said.

He missed the first three games but has made his mark, com­ing off the bench to score his first try for the team against Horowhen­u­aKapiti in their 42-18 vic­tory.

‘‘I was stoked re­ally rapt with that.’’

The youngest on the team by two years, Thrupp is learn­ing there is a peck­ing or­der, sit­ting at the front of the bus ‘‘for now’’, or being told what to do.

‘‘I had never seen much of the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship, just seen some high­lights with dad.

‘‘When he rang I had to ask my work mate who are the King Coun­try Rams?

‘‘It had never mind.’’

The step up has meant a new level of com­mit­ment from Thrupp who is based at Mount Maun­ganui. It means he trains three times a week in ei­ther Taupo, Te Kuiti or Tau­marunui.

It’s also been a rise in the level of com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘You do no­tice it a lot. The game is a lot faster and it is a lot more phys­i­cal, so you have to put in the hours out­side of train­ing. I have to get up do the early morn­ing runs, go to the gym do the few ex­tras, it’s a lot faster so you’ve got to have your wits about you,’’ Thrupp said.

The great club cul­ture has got Thrupp ex­cited about his fu­ture crossed my and made him more fo­cused about mak­ing the most of the op­por­tu­nity he’s been given.

He’s learn­ing from those around him who have spent years in the environment.

‘‘It’s kind of sent me down a good road. In the off sea­son I would head back to Mata­mata and have beers with my mates. Now that I’m part of King Coun­try I will go see friends but I won’t drink with them like I use to.

‘‘I am fo­cused on my train­ing, it’s kind of changed me.

‘‘You can’t re­ally have an off­day. You’ve al­ways got to play at your best, so you have to look af­ter your body a lot bet­ter,’’ Thrupp said.

He has as­pi­ra­tions of work­ing his way to a higher level.

‘‘I would love to play in the Mitre 10 Cup. As a lit­tle kid my dream was play­ing for Waikato, any team would do, but Waikato would be the dream.

‘‘Ever since I was a lit­tle fella play­ing games on Play Sta­tion I would also choose Waikato. Hope­fully, it all works out, still got a few years in me,’’ Thrupp said.

He has been ply­ing his trade on the wing but would like to have a crack at cen­tre where it would suit his more com­bat­ive style and al­low him to get his hands on the ball a lit­tle more.

He’s also keen to chase a ca­reer in Sev­ens Rugby.

‘‘That’s an­other dream. Now that it’s in the Olympic Games, I will only be 24 when the next Olympics are on.

‘‘I could be in my prime by then so hope­fully, I just got to keep work­ing hard.

‘‘I’ll first fo­cus on the Heart­land rugby com­pe­ti­tion and then if Sev­ens comes around, I’ll rip into that.’’

King Coun­try is sixth on the lad­der af­ter their 4- all draw with North Otago on Satur­day.

PHOTO: MIKE BAIN/FAIR­FAX NZ

For­mer Mata­mata Col­lege stu­dent Alex Thrupp is in his first sea­son play­ing Heart­land rugby for King Coun­try.

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