3 Aug 2009

All Blacks set to return to provincial rugby after South African disappointments

6:41 pm on 3 August 2009

The All Blacks recent poor form could have come have some benefit on the domestic competition.

Luke McAlister is among what's expected to be a large group of All Blacks who'll turn out for their provinces over the next couple of weeks, with the next tri nations test almost three weeks away.

North Harbour have confirmed McAlister will come into their starting lineup for Friday night's match against Tasman.

It will be McAlister's first game for the province in three years, after leaving at the end of the 2007 world cup for a two year stint in the United Kingdom.

Given the All Blacks poor form in their two losses in South Africa, coach Graham Henry may send his players back to the provincial competition, before the next test against Australia in Sydney on August 22nd.

The likes of McAlister, halfback Brendon Leonard, lock Jason Eaton, props John Afoa and Owen Franks, loose forwards Kieran Read and Tanerau Latimer, utility back Cory Jane, lock Bryn Evans and hooker Aled de Malmanche all had limited or no game time in the republic so could expect to play a game or two in the Air New Zealand Cup.