Don’t expect too much from McAlister just yet : Jones

Sale Sharks head coach Kingsley Jones has warned fans not to expect too much too soon from their new star signing Luke McAlister.

The All Blacks back is set to make his Sale debut in the Guinness Premiership clash at Worcester on Friday after arriving last week on a two-year contract.

The 24-year-old is one of the youngest All Blacks to leave New Zealand in recent years. McAlister will slot into an already impressive backline which has the makings of the best of the Premiership, but Jones believes it will take time for his attacking stars to gel.

“There’s new players around Luke and new moves, so we don’t expect too much from him yet,” Jones told the Manchester evening news.

“But you can see his quality straight away. He’s got good feet, he’s powerful, he’s got good hands and a solid kicking game.

“He possesses all those things – that’s why we wanted him here – but the key thing is his decision making. He invariably makes the right decision on the ball and that’s why he’s come through able to play in three positions across the middle.

“He’s certainly going to bring us a lot in attack, with the likes of Rory Lamont, Mark Cueto, Julien Laharrague, Ben Foden and Steve Hanley available for the back three.

“It’ll take a bit of pressure off Charlie Hodgson too,” he added. “It’ll take time but once those two get used to each other, the possibilities are endless and it’s going to be very difficult to defend.”

McAlister has some pace on him and he is pretty versatile too as he can play at 10, 12 or 13. “We’ve run with Luke in training in a couple of positions and there is a possibility we’re going to start with him,” he said.

“He’s only trained with us for two sessions so far and he’s fitting in well. But we’ve got to be fair to Lee Thomas. He’s been very good at 12 for us and put his hand up in that position.”

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