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
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Suva
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
Kings v Highlanders 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Lions v Sharks 17h10 Johannesburg
Jaguares v Bulls 21h40 Buenos Aires
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 8 0 4 34
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
Rebels 12 6 0 6 27
Reds 12 3 1 8 16
Force 12 2 0 10 12
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 45
Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 12 6 1 5 30
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 1 4 36
Bulls 12 7 1 4 32
Cheetahs 12 3 0 9 17
Sunwolves 12 1 1 10 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 9 0 3 42
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 12 2 0 10 14
Kings 12 2 0 10 9