North Harbour and 2011 Blues mid-field back Luke McAlister will be released from his New Zealand and North Harbour playing contracts following North Harbour’s round 10 ITM Cup match against Counties Manukau tomorrow (Wed 17 August).
McAlister will join French club Toulouse following the release.
North Harbour Rugby Chief Executive Brett Hollister said McAlister had requested an early release due to his new French commitments.
“We’ve worked with the New Zealand Rugby Union to negotiate an appropriate release with Luke, including an early release fee.
“We’re obviously very disappointed that he is leaving during our 2011 ITM Cup campaign – as our season was planned on the expectation Luke would play for us. The reality is he wishes to start his new contract in Toulouse this month and for us that means finishing the ITM Cup season without him,” Hollister said.
NZRU General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said: “While this is a disappointing end to Luke’s career in New Zealand, we have agreed that this is the best outcome for everyone involved and we wish him well.”