Ellis joins Japan exodus

Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:02
Large andy ellis arms

All Blacks scrumhalf Andy Ellis has joined the growing exodus to Japan, after it was confirmed he will play for club the Kobelco Steelers.

All Blacks scrumhalf Andy Ellis has joined the growing exodus to Japan, after it was confirmed he will play for club the Kobelco Steelers when the current Super Rugby season ends.

Ellis, 30, who played the most recent of his 26 Tests for New Zealand as a replacement in the 2011 World Cup Final, will miss New Zealand's National Provincial Championships this year and the start of the next Super Rugby season.

Ellis said his temporary move to Japan was not an indication he has given up on again playing for the All Blacks.

"This is certainly not a sign of my playing days in New Zealand coming to an end," the scrumhalf said in a statement on Friday.

"I am just fortunate to have the ability to play in Japan, which is something I've always wanted to do, and then return home to continue with the Crusaders.

"I love playing for Canterbury and the Crusaders, and I would love the chance to represent New Zealand again - if the opportunity ever came up."

Ellis said he was particularly keen to play for the Kobelco Steelers, having spent time in Kobe in the past when his parents lived and worked there for three years.  

"My family and I just love the city and the Japanese culture so we are really excited about the adventure we have in front of us."

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said Ellis went to Japan with their blessing, but the Crusaders are thrilled to be retaining the talent and experience that Ellis offers.

"Andy has been such a loyal servant to New Zealand and he fully deserves this opportunity to go and gain some international experience," Blackadder said.

"We are fully supportive of Andy's decision to play in Japan, but especially pleased that he's committed to returning to the Crusaders at the end of his season in Kobe.
 
"Andy has so much more to offer New Zealand, so it is fantastic that he continues to see his future here.

"He is a core member of the Crusaders team and we are grateful that we will continue to reap the benefits of his experience, energy and personality both on and off the field."

 Scott Robertson, coach for the Canterbury NPC team, said they would miss Ellis' input this year, but hoped he would be back in red and black again in the future.

"Andy is a really influential member of this team and just such a pleasure to have around, so obviously we are sorry not to have him this season.  However we can fully understand and appreciate Andy's decision to take this opportunity for a stint overseas and the door will always be open for a return to the Canterbury team," Robertson said.

Ellis's contract with the Kobelco Steelers begins at the conclusion of Super Rugby and he is likely return to Christchurch in February 2015, which may see him miss the early stages of the Super Rugby competition.

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 01 May 2016
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 12h00 Sandy Park
London Irish v Harlequins 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Newcastle Falcons 14h15 Allianz Park
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 9 5 0 4 23
Brumbies 9 5 0 4 21
Waratahs 8 4 0 4 21
Reds 9 2 1 6 12
Force 9 1 0 8 6
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Crusaders 8 7 0 1 32
Hurricanes 9 6 0 3 31
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 4 1 3 20
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 29
Bulls 8 6 1 1 28
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 12
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 27
Sharks 9 4 1 4 23
Jaguares 8 1 0 7 7
Kings 7 1 0 6 4