McAlister heading home

Discussion in 'Aviva Premiership / LV Cup' started by An Tarbh, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. An Tarbh

    An Tarbh Guest

    Luke McAlister will be heading back to New Zealand once he finishes the season with Sale.

    He's signed a new deal with the NZRFU up till 2012.
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  3. Hinch

    Hinch Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (An Tarbh @ Feb 26 2009, 11:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    While I've loved being able to see hi play with his Sale tenure, I've hoped he'd return to NZ and get back in an All Blacks jersey. Hopefully he can earn his place again. One of the best imports the Premiership has had.

    Former All Blacks star Luke McAlister is to return to New Zealand and has signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union through until 2012, easing a significant problem area for national coach Graham Henry.

    McAlister, who left New Zealand rugby at the end of 2007 to play for English club Sale, will return to New Zealand at the end of the English Premiership season in May.

    With star first five-eighths Dan Carter injured and a lack of depth at No 12, McAlister's return gives Henry a player who can help cover both positions.

    He would need a special dispensation to play for the All Blacks in June and don't discount that given the current circumstances.

    Current rules say a player must compete in a New Zealand competition before they are eligible for the All Blacks. That would mean playing in the Air New Zealand Cup and then making the All Blacks for the end of year tour.

    But it would be a surprise for McAlister not to be rushed back through the system given the effort that has gone into securing his services again.

    This is a significant coup for the New Zealand Rugby Union. It reverses the trend of losing major talent to offshore clubs. And it comes with a player who, at 25, is arguably in his prime.

    McAlister had been fielding offers from England and France before deciding to bring his game home to New Zealand.

    With 22 tests already under his belt, he has the potential to be a leading part of the next World Cup campaign.

    That will clearly have been a motivating factor for McAlister after he was a central figure in the last World Cup failure, being sin-binned in the quarter-final loss to France.

    Commenting from his home base in Manchester, McAlister said he was looking forward to coming home.

    "The simple reason why I am leaving England and heading home is because I want to be closer to my family who are very important to me," said McAlister.

    "The fact that I can continue my rugby career as well back in New Zealand is obviously fantastic as well and I appreciate being given the opportunity, but family comes first."

    McAlister, who is currently recovering from a knee operation, said he felt he had developed as both a person and rugby player in England and was hoping to leave English club rugby on a high.

    "We have a chance of having a crack at the top four (in the Premiership) and hopefully we can give the local fans, who have been great to me, a great end to the season."

    NZRU CEO Steve Tew said the NZRU negotiations with McAlister had stepped up over the last two weeks and the deal had only been finalised in the last 24 hours.

    "This is very good news coming on the back of yesterday's announcement that we have re-signed Brendon Leonard, Andy Ellis and Stephen Brett.

    "As all New Zealand and English rugby fans know, Luke is an incredibly talented rugby player and we are delighted that he has chosen to return home."

    Mr Tew said while McAlister had signed with the NZRU, he was yet to decide on his provincial or Super 14 future and would discuss that on his return to New Zealand.

    Given the Blues' shortages at No 10 and 12 it would surprise if he ventured far from his old home base. He played his previous Air New Zealand Cup rugby for North Harbour.

    McAlister is one of the most versatile backs in the modern game who can play first five-eighth, second five-eight or centre and brings outstanding kicking skills to his game.

    He made his All Blacks debut in 2005 in the third test against the touring Lions and went on to play 22 tests, scoring 120 points, before heading to Europe at the end of 2007.
  5. Prestwick

    Prestwick Guest

    Contary to what Graham Henry has said, I think he'll go back to New Zealand a better player after sampling the wider rugby world and being learning lessons both about himself and his style of play. His speed and tenacity helped Sale to some awesome wins but he's also had to deal with some poor results such as the double defeats to Munster but I think he's come back from a very tough HEC campaign stronger than when he arrived in the UK back in 2007.
  6. dundeesmiffy

    dundeesmiffy Guest

    You think he'll go back to the Blue, or he'll dabble with another club? I think he'd look dashing in Wellington Yellow.
  7. Ickon

    Ickon Guest

    Great dude & great player, although I think he's best suited at 2nd/5, decision making at first receiver can be questionable at times. The boys back home have said he's coming back to Nth Harbour.
  8. QLD

    QLD Guest

    Western Force should look at getting him.
  9. Sir Speedy

    Sir Speedy Guest

    Hm, will he be going to the Blues and North Harbour like before? Will be interesting to see him competing with Nonu... That's if the transition from European level to S14 level won't affect him for a while.
  10. munross

    munross Guest

    I just have a feeling that the Crusaders will be after him too :run:
  11. Sir Speedy

    Sir Speedy Guest

    Just read the NZRU are trying to bend their rules to get him back in the AB's team by June... Stinks of hypocrisy if you ask me.
    Still, do you Kiwis have nobody to replace Carter so that you need to resort to a player who's spent the previous two years in an inferior hemisphere of rugby? Could be a disaster a la Butch James.
  12. An Tarbh

    An Tarbh Guest

    always good to give chokers the chance to make amends.
  13. candybum

    candybum Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Sir. Speedy @ Feb 28 2009, 04:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Well Carter injured, Evans at the Harlequins, most of our 10's are young guns just starting out at S14, not counting Weepu (though he might be able to do the job for the ABs) and Gopperth and Lavea whom i think both suck in the opening arounds.

    Slade and Kirkpatrick are promising but their kicking is not flash, Bowden's pretty decent but kak. And Brett hasn't been playing 10 lately so yeah.

    But i do think your right, there seems to be some desperation on the NZRU's part. I don't like the NZRU, they stink.
  14. Flux

    Flux Guest

    I don't care how desperate the All Blacks are, I don't think McAlister should be able to just walk into the team. In my opinion he shafted the team in 2007 when we needed him most, now we're letting him waltz right back into the team. The black jersey is earned, and I'm pretty sure McAlister chose money over it last time round.

    Give Brett a run at ten, I'm pretty sure he'll do well. The Crusaders come back last night was largely down to Brett coming in and playing as a first five. Pretty much every decent attack by the Crusaders in the last ten minutes had Brett pulling the strings somehow.
  15. Gay-Guy

    Gay-Guy Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Sir. Speedy @ Feb 28 2009, 05:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    We groomed four No10's and one is injured, another unavailable, one just coming back from overseas and the fourth is useless.....the fifth ranked number ten with a lot of potential is currently playing fullback lol! Well at least the NZRFU have got it right by having selection dilemmas between RWCs. The 6th, 7th and 8th ranked number tens won't be ready for two years.
  16. An Tarbh

    An Tarbh Guest

    you're not stuck with that clown who couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo when you played Munster are you? Donald is it?
  17. QLD

    QLD Guest

    Why is Brett playing fullback for the Crusaders, I was hearing last year this bloke was good enough to shift Carter to 12 at the Crusaders
  18. Gay-Guy

    Gay-Guy Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (An Tarbh @ Feb 28 2009, 12:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Yep...silly Henry ranks him as number 4 amongst the first fives here...NUMBER FOUR what the hell! Henry ranks him ahead of Brett who has a whole lot more talent. Donald should be a 2nd five at best....not a first five.

    Brett is playing fullback for the Crusaders because their new coach Blackadder thinks Slade is better...but he is no where near as good nor can he kick penalties that well.

    In two years the Highlanders first five may sneak ahead into the top three NZ first fives....hopefully by then Henry would have demoted Donald to the rugby wilderness of local club rugby.....
  19. Gay-Guy

    Gay-Guy Guest

    Just watching the Chiefs vs Sharks...first penalty chance to Chiefs.....from 50 metres Donald nails a penalty.

    He did try a chip and chase earlier that looked typically stupid.
  20. Gay-Guy

    Gay-Guy Guest

    Donald just got owned by Kankowski...or was it Spies...bring back MacAlister.
  21. Ripper

    Ripper Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (dundeesmiffy @ Feb 27 2009, 02:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
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