Luke McAlister won’t have to play any domestic rugby in New Zealand before becoming available for the All Blacks in the Tri-Nations.
McAlister is currently playing for the Sale Sharks in England but will return in late May. Current regulations would have required him to have played in the New Zealand ‘domestic’ competition before being available for national selection, but the NZRU has back-tracked on this rule especially for McAlister.
With Dan Carter crocked and Piri Weepu and Stephen Donald the leading contenders for the No 10 jersey, McAlister is likely to find some place in the squad. Ma’a Nonu is established as first-choice No 12, but McAlister could also be in line for that berth.
The NZRU’s ruling doesn’t allow McAlister to play during the France and Italy tours, but only for the southern hemisphere showpiece. If serious injury does strike to other leading contenders, McAlister will be allowed to play in the June internationals.
In February, McAlister re-signed with NZRU until 2012.