Luke McAlister to return to New Zealand - Marquee player signs with NZRU to 2012
Former All Blacks star Luke McAlister is to return to New Zealand and has re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union through until 2012.
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.
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.
“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 Rebel Sport Super 14 future and would discuss that on his return to New Zealand.
25-year-old Luke 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 British & Irish Lions and went on to play 22 Tests, scoring 120 points, before heading to Europe at the end of 2007.
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