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Steenkamp and McAlister soon to be team mates !


Written by Gwyn Pratley (Hertford Highlander)

Posted in :All Blacks, Bulls, In the news, Springboks, Wallabies on 21 Apr 2011 at 08:45
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

Skysport.co.nz reports that big spending European Champions Toulouse have been busy in their recruitment drive the last 24 hours, with 5 big name signings.

Bulls prop Guthro Steenkamp, All Black five eight Luke McAlister, Warratah halfback Luke Burgess, French flyhalf Lionel Beauxis and Fijian flyer Timoci Matanavou have all put pen to paper.

The other big player news coming out of New zealand today is the signing of All Black locking hard-man Brad Thorn to the Japanese Club Fukuoka Sanix Blues.

Skysports.co.nz reports Two further All Blacks will leave New Zealand’s shores with lock Brad Thorn and playmaker Luke McAlister signing lucrative deals with overseas clubs.

Both players remain available and in contention for the World Cup. Thorn is a starting certainty while McAlister is pushing for a recall at either second or first five-eighths.

Thorn will link with Japanese club Fukuoka Sanix Blues. The 36-year-old, 50–Test All Black and former league international will join the club on a two–year contract following the 2011 season.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry said Thorn, who played seven seasons for the Brisbane Broncos before crossing codes, was ‘one of a kind, a special man and a special All Black.’

“He is a tower of strength to the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby and is the ultimate professional – professionalism which has been honed over 17 years of top-level football,” Henry said of the Crusaders man mountain.

“On the field he has a hard edge, both physically and mentally, and he gives his all to his team-mates. Off field, he unobtrusively ensures others are progressing well. He is an inspiration.

“On behalf of the All Blacks, I congratulate him on what he has achieved – and will continue to achieve – for Crusaders and All Blacks rugby. The remarkable thing is at 36 years young he is still improving and, knowing Brad, he will continue to improve. He will go to Japan next year with our very best wishes,” Henry added.

McAlister, meanwhile, will embark on his second European stint, this time with European champions Toulouse, where he’ll be joined by Wallabies and Waratahs halfback Luke Burgess.

The 27-year-old 30-Test All Black left New Zealand after the 2007 World Cup and played 24 matches for Sale Sharks before returning home.

Many argue that stint deteriorated his game but McAlister has enjoyed something of a form revival of late at No.12 for the Blues.

South African loosehead prop Gurthro Steenkamp has also signed for the big-spending Top 14 club from the Bulls while French No.10 Lionel Beauxis has been recruited from Stade Francais.

A statement on www.stadetoulousain.fr read: “After the signatures of Nicolas Bez, Jean-Marc Doussain and Russlan Boukerou, who signed their first professional contracts with the club, Stade Toulousain has formalised its recruitment for the 2011-2012 season.

“Lionel Beauxis, Luke McAlister, Luke Burgess and Gurthro Steenkamp are committed to the club for three years, until the end of the 2013-2014 season. Timoci Matanavou has signed for two years until June 2013.”



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