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Ellison set to tackle Sharks

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 18:56
Tamatiellisonchiefs Tamatiellisoncrusaders Tamatiellisontraining

Tamati Ellison is set to make his return for the Highlanders a month ahead of schedule in Saturday’s match against the Sharks in Dunedin.

The All Black centre underwent shoulder surgery last December and was not expected back until after the June Tests.

Ellison will in all likelihood link up with fellow All Black Ma'a Nonu in midfield in what will be his first match since the All Blacks’ 51-22 win over Scotland in Edinburgh last November.

"Tamati is a quality player but he has had a long time out of the game and it is not going to be easy for him to come straight back in and perform," Highlanders coach Joseph told Sportal.

"But he is an experienced player who gives confidence to the younger guys around him."

As the defensive organiser of the backline, Ellison’s return will be a significant boost for the winless Highlanders and could see Jason Emery shift to right wing with both Kade Poki and Buxton Popoali'i unlikely starters against the Durban side.

Poki re-injured his ribs against the Brumbies last month while Popoali'i is carrying a foot injury that may require surgery.

Also unavailable for Saturday are Nasi Manu (foot), Mose Tuiali'i (knee), Lima Sopoaga (ankle), Brayden Mitchell (shoulder) and Shaun Treeby (hamstring).

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