New Zealand All Blacks Rugby News

McAlister’s return to NZ delayed



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The chance of Luke McAlister playing for the All Blacks in the Iveco Series which features two matches against France and one against Italy are looking unlikely as he has signed up to play for the Barbarians.

The New Zealand Rugby Union were considering fast tracking him into the team but now that he has accepted an invitation to line-up for the Barbarians in their May 31 clash against England at Twickenham.

The All Blacks first match against France is on the 13th of June. It is however not unthinkable that he could still for the All Blacks who is highly unlikely to have Dan Carter back for the series let alone the TriNations. He is expected to return to rugby half way through the TriNations.

McAlister recently signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union through to 2012 in order to be available for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and to be closer to his family.

Sale were keen to keep him on and French clubs such as Toulon showed interest in signing him.

McAlister has been confirmed in the Barbarians line-up along with fellow New Zealanders Nick Evans, Jerry Collins, Justin Marshall and Doug Howlett.

They will be joined by high-profile past and present test players Justin Harrison, Seilala Mapusua, Martin Corry, Serge Betsen and Rocky Elsom.

“The ten players that have been announced to date are all superb players and like me they are looking forward to playing against England,” said Barbarians Head Coach, David Young told Yahoo!Xtra.

“It’s always a great occasion when you get the chance to play at Twickenham Stadium and I’m sure May 30 (England time) will be no different.”

McAlister’s availability for the All Blacks for the Iveco Series and the Tri-nations will be up for debate at the NZRU’s next board meeting in late April as the current regulations state that players have to have played in the Super 14 or the Air New Zealand Cup before they can wear the black jersey in that calendar year.

McAlister will have missed the Super 14 and it will be too early for the Air New Zealand Cup. All Black head coach Graham Henry enquired about the process soon after McAlister’s return was confirmed and the NZRU board could make an exception in McAlister’s case.

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