Student meets the master

Wednesday, May 4, 2005    

McAlister has been the glue in a Blues backline that has been constantly reshuffled to accommodate an unusually high injury toll throughout the 2005 Rebel Sport Super 12.

“I’ve been lucky I haven’t been injured,” McAlister says while touching wood. “But we’ve been running in different positions at training so we are familiar in other roles.”

The Blues will be hoping to keep their unbeaten record against the Hurricanes and McAlister has the honour of marking current All Blacks captain Tana Umaga playing in his 100th Super 12 game. When Umaga debuted for the Hurricanes in 1996 McAlister was 13 years old.

McAlister remembers playing against Umaga as an 18-year-old in 2002 when he played his first year of Air New Zealand NPC rugby for North Harbour.

“It was daunting facing Tana and I was pretty nervous as a young fella,” McAlister told “But I believe to be the best you have to play against the best.