The Crusaders have confirmed the appointment of a fifth coach for the 2021 Sky Super Rugby season, with former All Black and Hurricanes utility, Tamati Ellison, joining the squad today. Ellison will fill the coaching position vacated by Mark Jones, and will assist with team defence and position-specific player development.
Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said: “Tamati is a good man with a great reputation, and we look forward to his contribution to both our coaching group, as well as our wider organisation, in 2021.
“He has connections to our region already through his iwi, Ngāi Tahu, and we are thrilled to welcome him to Rugby Park today, as the squad continues their pre-season preparations.”
Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson added: “Tamati is well-respected on and off the field, and we’re excited to have him add his expertise to our coaching group this season.
“He’s a man with a lot of mana, and I know he’ll make a significant contribution, sharing the experiences he had throughout a long playing career as he makes the transition to coaching.”
Tamati Ellison brings a wealth of Super Rugby knowledge to the Crusaders coaching team, having represented the Blues, Hurricanes, Highlanders and Rebels as a player. He made his Super Rugby debut for the Blues in 2005, then went on to represent the Hurricanes from 2006 to 2010. Following a stint in Japan with Ricoh Black Rams, Ellison returned to New Zealand to link up with the Highlanders for their 2012 and 2013 seasons, before making his way back to Japan and the Black Rams. He finished his Super Rugby playing career in 2016 after three seasons with the Melbourne Rebels, returning to Japan once again.
The 37-year-old also has a number of national honours to his name, pulling on the black jersey for the Junior All Blacks and the Maori All Blacks between 2005 and 2009, and winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal with the New Zealand Sevens team in 2006. In 2009, he earned selection in the All Blacks, becoming All Black number 1099 when he made his debut against Italy on the end of year tour.
Most recently, the four-Test All Black was a player-coach in the Japanese Top League, with Kurita Water Gush, and he was part of the Wellington Lions coaching group for the 2020 provincial season.
Ellison said he is looking forward to connecting with the Crusaders squad today: “This is a really exciting opportunity for me to coach at Super Rugby level, as part of a world-renowned team that is full of talented players and coaches.
“I look forward to meeting everyone, and sharing some of my experiences as a player both here in New Zealand and overseas. I have no doubt I’ll learn a lot in this Crusaders environment and I can’t wait for the challenge ahead.”
Tamati Ellison arrived in Christchurch over the weekend and begins pre-season training with the side today.