PLAYER PROFILE #JWC2014: Leon Fukofuka

Getty Images     21 May 2014     Getty Images

Fukofuka who said it had always been his dream when he was at Kelston Boy's High School in Auckland to make the New Zealand Under-20 side to play in the Under-20 Championship.

Now he's made it he can't wait for next month's tournament. But while he has continued to do some part-time study, he has also been making a 30-minute daily trip out of the city to Helensville to work on a farm.

"I have been feeding out stock and building fences. I've been doing for a bit over a year now and I have found it really helps with my fitness for rugby," he said.

It required a steep learning curve for the big halfback who weighs in at 93kgs and who said he likes to use that as 'a point of difference' from some other halfbacks around the country.

He saw himself more in the mould of a TJ Perenara than an Aaron Smith, and said using his weight to attack the line was what he enjoyed along with defensive work.

But he needed that size to help him make the transition from schools rugby to senior club rugby in Auckland with the Marist side for whom he is now in his second year.

"That was a massive step-up from 1st for me, and the team is coping pretty well so far in this year's competition," he said.

A son of former Tongan prop, K Fukofuka who played eight games for Auckland in 1995, he said his father had been a big influence in his career.

"He gave me good feedback after every game. But in Auckland's set-up Ant Strachan and Ben Meyer have been giving me some good feedback and tips," he said.

Once the tournament is over, Fukofuka has set his sights on pushing for a place in the Auckland ITM Cup side this year.