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