Super Rugby 2019: Promising prop Fraser Armstrong's unconventional journey to Hurricanes

Loosehead prop Fraser Armstrong will make just his sixth start for the Hurricanes on Saturday.

That's not many for a 27-year-old in modern rugby, when so many players walk straight out of age-grade teams and into the big time.

For a while, Armstrong seemed destined to be a builder, not a Super Rugby player.

But for every young star that's thrust into the limelight, there's a player that professional rugby isn't so kind to straight away.

Armstrong is that guy.

"I started not liking rugby, to be fair," Armstrong told Newshub. "Just not playing."

After making the 2012 New Zealand U20s in a front row featuring All Black Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Armstrong's promising propping career didn't push on.

The Hamilton boy couldn't get game time at Waikato, then had the same problem when he shifted to Auckland.

"I wasn't playing that well, to be fair. I needed to find my body, like being bigger.

So, Armstrong started a building apprenticeship with his uncle, as a back-up.

But his wife and parents pushed him to chase his rugby dream when Manawatu came calling and the apprenticeship was put aside.

"I still haven't finished it. I have a couple of months left."

And things finally started to click in Palmerston North.

In 2017, he was Manawatu Forward of the Year. The following season, at 26-years-old, he became Hurricanes Rookie of the Year, after nine appearances off the bench.

Now he's a regular starter.

Hurricanes coach John Plumtree acknowledges Armstrong has been a work in progress.

"Him and I have had a few discussions about growing up a little bit, and realising his potential," said Plumtree."And he's gone from strength to strength in the last five weeks."

Fraser Armstrong's love for the game is back.

"I just love it - love footy and love coming to work. Love waking up everyday."

Now the only thing he's building is his rugby career.


Join us at 5:15pm Saturday for the Hurricanes v Rebels Super Rugby clash