28 Apr

by Tracey Nelson
28 Apr 2009

Headlines from the current week

Luke McAlister will be signing with North Harbour and will play for the Blues in the 2010 Super 14, scuttling rumours that he may have been signing with the Hurricanes. McAlister is due back in New Zealand in June, and is likely to play for the Junior All Blacks so that he is available for selection for the TriNations series that kicks off in mid-July.

Chris Jack is returning to New Zealand from his time with the Saracens club in the UK and will play for the Crusaders in the 2010 Super 14. It is most likely Jack will sign with Tasman rather than Canterbury, as his wife’s family live in Nelson and they have close ties with the area. Jack has signed with the NZRU through to 2011, but will not be playing Air NZ Cup rugby this year.

Referee Steve Walsh has retired from his job with the NZRU. As the result of an enquiry into an employment problem that occurred at a SANZAR referee meeting in Sydney in December 2008, an agreement was made between Walsh and the NZRU, who will pay him out until the end of the year. Walsh admitted in a radio interview that he has struggled with both personal issues and alcohol in the past two years, and fully took responsibility for what had happened. Walsh made his National Referee Squad debut in 1996 and in total refereed 212 first class games, including 35 Test matches.

Security is not likely to be stepped up at North Harbour Stadium despite Blues’ coaches Pat Lam and Shane Howarth being verbally abused by an enraged fan during the Blues-Reds game on Saturday night. The disgruntled spectator made his way into the coaches’ box which is situated near the top of the main stand, and shredded his ticket as he vented his displeasure at the Blues’ performance on the night. Having left the box, he then returned to have another go and managed to leave again before security could apprehend him. The two coaches were escorted from the box by security after the conclusion of the match.

An administrative bungle has allowed Chiefs No 8 Sione Lauaki to escape any further punishment from a citing for a dangerous tackle during the Chiefs game against the Bulls over the weekend. Lauaki was yellow carded 10 minutes before half time after felling Bryan Habana with high tackle and was cited after the match. However, somewhat ludicrously the citing was dismissed on technical grounds because it was not received within the prescribed 12 hour period after the finish of the game. Lauaki will thereforebe available for the Chiefs game against the Stormers at Cape Town in their final match in South Africa before returning to New Zealand for the final two rounds.

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