Luke McAlister has had mixed fortunes since returning from England where he played for the Sale Sharks.
A series of injuries to front line players saw him rushed back into the All Blacks in 2009, and while solid, never captured the form that made him one of the world's premier second five-eighths.
In 2010 he missed most of the Blues Super 14 season, but still recieved a call up to the New Zealand Maori.
McAlister impressed in his All Blacks Test debut in the Third Test of the DHL New Zealand Lions Series at Auckland in July 2005, filling the No 10 jersey after an injury to second Test hero Dan Carter. McAlister reprised his role off the bench in all four of the All Blacks 2005 Philips Tri Nations matches.
The talented young five-eighth was first selected for the All Blacks end-of-year squad in 2004 but injury kept him from making his debut on that tour; injury also stymied his chance to join the 2005 UK & Ireland Tour.
McAlister possesses the size, athleticism and skill to excel in the 10, 12 or 13 jersey, and has excelled at all three positions for North Harbour. His defence is solid and he is rapidly developing the tactical nous of a top-flight five-eighth.
In 2002, McAlister scored 99 points for the New Zealand Schools team; 82 for New Zealand Under 19 and 89 in his debut NPC season — he finished the year being named as one of five Promising Players by New Zealand’s Rugby Almanack and the IRB’s Under 19 Player of the Year.
v British & Irish Lions at Auckland 2005
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7t, 26c, 22p
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• Age Grade Player of the Year, 2002
• Scored 74 points for the Blues in the 2006 Rebel Sport Super 14 before missing the closing rounds with injury.
• Kicked 17 points in two matches for the Junior All Blacks against Australia A on the team’s inaugural tour in 2005.
• Scored 90 points for North Harbour in 2005 to lead the team by a wide margin, despite missing five of the team’s 12 matches.
• Was the Blues’ top points-scorer in the 2005 Rebel Sport Super 12 with 99.
• Was named IRB Under 19 Player of the Year 2002 and was a finalist for IRB Under 21 Player of the Year 2004.
• Spent his primary school years in Lancashire in England, representing the county in age-group soccer and rugby league teams, before returning to New Zealand.