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Rebels in All Black coup

Fri, 06 Sep 2013 11:55
Tamati-ellison-all-blacks Tamati-ellison-highlanders

The Rebels have bolstered their 2014 playing squad, with the signing of Highlanders centre Tamati Ellison on a one-year deal.

The 30-year-old All Black will join the Rebels for the 2014 pre-season, following the completion of Ricoh Black Rams' Top League season in Japan.

Rebels coach Tony McGahan said both Ellison's versatility and experience would be valuable assets to the franchise.

"Tamati has the ability to play at a high level across a number of positions in the backline, which makes him a very important part of a Super Rugby squad in such a fast and demanding competition," McGahan said.

"He is a player who likes to express himself on the rugby field, and with this he will fit into the type of rugby we aim to play next season."

Ellison was a member the of Sevens team that won gold in the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and has since played in New Zealand's NPC, Super Rugby, Top League and Test rugby.

"His experience from all levels of New Zealand Rugby, combined with his overseas playing time will enable him to contribute to our program across many levels, both on and off the field," said McGahan.

Ellison captained the Junior All Blacks to victory in the 2009 Pacific Nations Cup, and went on to make his first Test appearance in the All Blacks' 2009 tour to Europe later that year. He has played four Tests for New Zealand.

Born in Wellington, Ellison made his Super Rugby debut for the Blues in 2005, and has gone on to represent both the Hurricanes and the Highlanders, with a total of 77 appearances to his name.

Speaking from Japan, Ellison said: "My family and I are really excited about moving to Melbourne and the new opportunities that lay ahead.

"The Rebels are building a very competitive team, and I'm looking forward to being a part of that."

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