NZRU agreed on early release of former All Blacks international utility back Luke McAlister
The governing body of rugby union in New Zealand, New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU), has announced the release of their utility back Luke McAlister from the contract.
McAlister’s current contract with the NZRU bounds him with them until October 2011.
NZRU General Manager of Professional Rugby, Neil Sorensen, announced the release of McAlister from the contract on Tuesday, August 16.
Following his omissions from the All Blacks provisional 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC), McAlister decided to join the Toulouse. The issue was further intensified when NZRU demanded the compensation money from the Toulouse for the early release.
Later, McAlister was dropped from the NZRU’s provincial side, North Harbour, due to different disciplinary issues, which were widely believed to be rooted by NZRU’s stance, on pre maturely releasing the utility back from the contract.
Commenting on the occasion, Sorensen said, “While this is a disappointing end to Luke's career in New Zealand, we have agreed that this is the best outcome for everyone involved and we wish him well.”
Sorensen further expressed his disappointment that McAlister will no longer be able to participate in the rest of the 2011 ITM Cup matches.
Sorensen confirmed that the McAlister’s early release is connected with his move to the French Top 14 side, Toulouse.
He said, “The reality is he wishes to start his new contract in Toulouse this month and for us that means finishing the ITM Cup season without him.”
Sorensen further confirmed that North Harbour’s Wednesday, August 17 encounter against the Counties Manukau will be McAlister’s last match for him, under his current contract with the NZRU and North Harbour.
North Harbour Rugby’s chief executive officer, Brett Hollister, added, “We've worked with the New Zealand Rugby Union to negotiate an appropriate release with Luke, including an early release fee.”
The 27-year-old McAlister rejoined the NZRU in 2009, marking his return to the Island, following a two-year stint with the Sale Sharks in the English Premiership and the European circuit. He was very impressive with his performance for Blues in the 2011
Super Rugby competition.