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McAlister seeking release

Published: 2:47PM Tuesday July 12, 2011 Source: ONE Sport

  • North Harbour's Luke McAlister (Source: Photosport)
    North Harbour's Luke McAlister - Source: Photosport

Former All Black Luke McAlister is seeking an early release from his New Zealand contract after missing out on Graham Henry's Tri Nations squad.

McAlister is set to leave for French club Toulouse at the end of the year, but is still contracted to the NZRU until after the Rugby World Cup.

The midfielder failed to front to training for his provincial side North Harbour yesterday and he has been left out of the squad for Thursday night's opening match against Otago in Dunedin.

However, the 30-Test All Black's father and manager Charlie McAlister told ONE News he wants a release from the NZRU so he can go to Toulouse early.

He also said the reason for the no-show at training was because his son was sick.

Earlier today North Harbour denied reports that McAlister has been kicked out of their ITM Cup squad for the season.

"Luke has signed to play for the team for the ITM Cup campaign, and is expected to remain part of the 2011 North Harbour squad," North Harbour CEO Brett Hollister said.

"While Luke has not been selected for the Otago game this week, it is up to the coach Liam Barry to select his team for each game and he will make those selections from the wider North Harbour squad based on his assessment of the players available."

Meanwhile former All Black Rudi Wulf has been named to start at centre for Harbour, while Blues halfback Chris Smylie will captain the side.

North Harbour: Cody Rei, David Raikuna, Rudi Wulf, Brendon Watt, Nafi Tuitavake, Ben Botica, Chris Smylie (c); Mat Luamanu, Brent Wilson, Solomon King, James King, Chris Smith, Ben Afeaki, James Parsons, Michael Reid.

Reserves: Michael Mayhew, Taione Vea, James Afoa, Irwin Finau, Scott Uren, Luke Hamilton, Willie Walker, Ken Pisi.