Top 14 Orange
Noves: Toulouse will not be held to ransom
July 15, 2011
McAlister's request to be released early from his contract has caused uproar in New Zealand. © Getty Images
Toulouse head coach Guy Noves has said his side will not pay for Luke McAlister's early release from the NZRU.
McAlister has been absent from North Harbour training this week and has since reportedly asked for a release from his contract to allow him to join the Top 14 champions sooner rather than later. However, the NZRU have demanded NZ$60,000 (£31,000) from Toulouse to allow the centre to leave early. Noves, in response, says his side will not be held to ransom over the 30-cap All Blacks centre. "We will not spend another cent," general manager Guy Noves told AFP. "Toulouse is not a cow to be milked."
The former Sale centre has agreed a three-year deal with Toulouse but was recently left out of Graham Henry's 30-man squad for the Tri-Nations. McAlister had originally agreed to join the champions at the end of the World Cup, but following his omission from the Tri-Nations squad, he now faces a battle to make the final group.
If McAlister does not get picked for the World Cup then it was originally thought he would move to France at the end of August when the ITM Cup finishes. However, Noves is adamant his side would not rush McAlister's arrival saying: "We are in no hurry. If he cannot come until the end of August then we will wait."
McAlister will be joined at Toulouse next season by fellow new signings scrum-half Luke Burgess and fly-half Lionel Beauxis. The champions will open their Top 14 campaign against Bayonne on August 26 or 27.
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