A work assignment in his home province Hawke's Bay was too good to turn down for Te Rangi Fraser.
The builder for Tauranga-based Bishop Building Ltd knows it could lead to a Hawke's Bay Magpies Mitre 10 Cup contract.
"I have to put my best foot forward for Napier Technical and see what happens," the former Bay of Plenty Steamers utility back, who has played most of his first class rugby at fullback, said.
Napier Boys' High School product Fraser, 29, has an early opportunity to stake a claim when a Magpies Wider Training Group Selection takes on the Auckland Contenders at Napier's Park Island today. Fraser will start in the No 15 jersey.
After missing last weekend's Hawke's Bay Sevens tournament in Waipukurau after having a wisdom tooth pulled the previous night, this will be his first outing this season.
"I've enjoyed my training sessions with the Wider Training Group. The facilities are top notch ... if not the best in the country. The coaches are awesome and the boys have all been great ... I'm just humbled for the opportunity," Fraser said.
In addition to three seasons with the Steamers in 2014, '15 and 16, Fraser, was also in the Bay of Plenty Sevens squad. In 2018 he played for the Nedlands club in Perth alongside former Magpie Ryan McLeod and former Hawke's Bay club player Davis Tavita.
"It's good to be home and it just happened to be the Tech club's centennial year. It's a good club with a good environment and I have a bit of history there having played all my junior rugby and all my cricket for the Texans," Fraser explained.
"I have yet to play premier rugby for Tech but I have played premier club cricket and I had a game of cricket for them earlier this summer. Rugby is the priority from now on though," Fraser said.
Last season's regular starting fullback for the Magpies, former Canterbury and Tasman representative Caleb Makene, has work commitments on the West Coast and won't be back in the Bay until midway through the club season.
Fraser is one of nine players in the hosts starting XV who have yet to play first class rugby for the Magpies.
Captain Elijah Martin, fellow lock Josh Gimblett, openside flanker Iakopo Mapu, No 8 Albert Hemopo, first five-eighth Tianua Poto, winger Anzelo Tuitavuki and midfielders Hemaua Samasoni and Levi Harmon are the others.
Harmon and Samasoni are new to the Bay this season and will both play for Taradale. Harmon has played for the Wellington Lions and been involved with All Black Sevens squads in the past.
An Otago age group product, Samasoni, played for the New Zealand Schools Barbarians in 2015.
Nine of the 16 substitutes for today's match have yet to pay first class rugby for the Bay but there is only one newcomer to the province among them in former Lincoln University prop Dom Devine.
Magpies coach Mark Ozich is thrilled the Hurricanes have released Maori All Blacks prop Pouri Rakete-Stones, the Chiefs have released former Baby Black Tiaan Falcon and the All Blacks Sevens have released Ollie Sapsford for the clash which will be the first of three in Napier today.
The other two, the Hurricanes under-20s against their Blues counterparts and the Hurricanes against the Sunwolves will be played at McLean Park.
The Magpies Wider Training Group team for today's 11am match at Park Island is:
Te Rangi Fraser, Neria Fomai, Levi Harmon, Hemaua Samasoni, Anzelo Tuitavuki, Tianua Poto, Zac Donaldson, Albert Hemopo, Iakopo Mapu, Solomone Funaki, Josh Gimblett, Elijah Martin (captain), Namatahi Waa, Kianu Kereru-Symes, Jason Long. Substitutes: Forwards, Jacob Devery, Damarus Hokianga, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Dom Devine, Paula Latu, Joel Hintz, Joe Apikotoa, Damien Scott, Tiaki Fabish, Frank Lochore, Josh Kaifa. Backs, Trent Hape, Tiaan Falcon, Joeli Rauca, Ollie Sapsford, Jordan Thompson-Dunn.