The All Blacks selectors have asked, and North Harbour coach Allan Pollock is happy to oblige a positional request for Luke McAlister this weekend against Taranaki.

The All Black panel passed on a request through McAlister for him to get time at second five-eighth in the Air New Zealand Cup game at North Harbour Stadium on Saturday.

Pollock will retain Tusi Pisi at first five-eighth and McAlister will slot in one place out. Pollock said if the move will help the All Blacks in their planning for next year's World Cup he's "quite happy" to help out.

In any case, he rates Pisi as a promising No 10 and McAlister's qualities at second five-eighth will boost the Harbour backline.

"It's not a direct order, but Graham would prefer to see him at 12," Pollock said yesterday. "If I had any direct issue with that I'd contact Graham myself." But he doesn't, so Pollock won't be reaching for the phone.

"Luke's got vision. You have less time to make decisions at 12 and he's got the ability to look beyond the defensive line coming at him."

Of McAlister's eight test appearances since his debut in the third test against the Lions last year, six have been at first five-eighth.

The exceptions were a couple of minutes at centre for Tana Umaga in the loss at Cape Town last year, and two minutes at the finish of the win against the Springboks in Wellington last month, when he replaced Sam Tuitupou at second five-eighth.

Three times he came off the bench for either Dan Carter or Leon MacDonald last year, and he started the two Irish tests in the No 10 jersey this year.

The 22-year-old started eight of 13 Super 14 games for the Blues this year, the first three at second five-eighth outside Tasesa Lavea, the last five at No 10 in place of the out-of-sorts Lavea.

Loosehead prop Tony Woodcock is also available for Harbour, while the Taranaki pack is boosted by the return of two other All Blacks, hooker Andrew Hore and lock Jason Eaton.

Pollock expects explosive No 8 Nick Williams to be fit after missing the cup opener against Tasman in Blenheim with a hamstring injury.

However, Jonah Lomu is unlikely to be ready, after injuring his ankle in a club game last month.

Tighthead prop Mike Noble is facing the union judiciary today after being sinbinned for throwing punches at a ruck late in the Tasman game.