8 May 2009

McAlister won't risk injured knee with Barbarians

12:16 pm on 8 May 2009

The former All Black Luke McAlister says he won't play for the Barbarians against England and Australia early next month unless he's sure he's over his knee injury.

The 25-year-old midfield back returned three days ago after his English club Sale failed to make the Premiership playoffs.

He says his recovery's going slowly and his priority is preparing for a return to New Zealand rugby, with the Junior All Blacks in the Pacific Nations Cup later in June.

Last month Luke McAlister was exempted from the rule that only players based in New Zealand can play for the All Blacks.

He won't be fully eligible for the All Blacks until the Tri Nations but could play against France and Italy in June, if injury rules out the other contenders.