There has been a lot written in the last couple of days about Luke McAlister signing up for a two year deal with Sale in England. A lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth from the New Zealand public and media that is...
The guy is too young. He is only twenty three. He'll never reach his potential. He has ruined his rugby playing chances. He is selfish and is too worried about the the money. He has devalued the All Black jersey. Why would anyone want to go and live in Manchester anyway. The weather is horrible in Manchester. Blah blah blah.
I do think Luke McAlister is a wonderful player; in a kind of Carlos Spencer way, that is. All those chip kicks and little searing runs (when he probably should have passed because there was an overlap). When the team is on song, so is he. But when they’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle, you probably won’t see him making such a clean break towards the banks for safety. He can definitely be spectacular but sometimes I think he lacks a bit of substance and is a bit too flashy. I still wish him luck and am surprised that anyone would begrudge him an OE.
But why the fuss about McAlister in the first place? Wouldn’t a bigger song and dance have been more appropriate for the true rock of this All Black team in the form of Carl Hayman. Instead, we get nothing. Just a resigned shrug of the shoulders and ‘oh well, there was nothing we could do’ by the NZRFU ‘we offered him a farm but he wanted to go Newcastle’. It seems to me strange that while we all seem to have been mourning the loss of McAlister for the last couple of months - we've let a true gem sure slip through our fingers.
And Manchester? Well it is an awesome city and anyone that writes otherwise has obviously never been there. It knocks the socks off Auckland for a start.