8 Jun 2009

McAlister rushed back into All Blacks

7:49 am on 8 June 2009

The utility back Luke McAlister has been added to the All Blacks squad as a replacement for the injured Richard Kahui.

McAlister played first and second five eighths in the Barbarians' 55-7 drubbing by the Wallabies on Saturday night and was going to turn out for the Junior All Blacks in the Pacific Nations tournament before joining the senior side for the Tri Nations.

But the versatile McAlister, who's been playing in England with Sale on a lucrative two-year deal since the 2007 World Cup and returned to New Zealand last month, got the call-up on Sunday afternoon to join the squad for the season opener against France in Dunedin on Saturday.

Kahui aggravated his shoulder injury in the Super 14 final against the Bulls and the All Blacks coach Graham Henry says McAlister will provide the team with more backline options.

Henry says McAlister's returning to the All Blacks squad better for the rugby experience in the Northern Hemisphere.