All Blacks set to bring back Ellis

Date published: June 24 2015

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has hinted that Crusaders scrum-half Andy Ellis will start against Samoa.

The two sides meet on July 8 in Apia for a historic match-up, but a number of other All Blacks scrum-halves are set to be unavailable.

TJ Perenara and Aaron Smith are both involved in the Super Rugby knockout stages with the Hurricanes and Highlanders, while Tawera Kerr-Barlow continues to work his way back from injury.

That all means a recall for Ellis looks likely, with the 31-year-old winning the last of his 26 caps when he came off the bench in the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final.

"I'd say [Ellis starting is ] definitely likely," Hansen told reporters on Wednesday on New Zealand's first day in camp.

"TKB [Kerr-Barlow] is going to play for the Maori, which is three days later, and Aaron Smith and TJ [Perenara] are both involved with their games. I'd suggest he might play."

Hansen revealed that Ellis was understandably excited by the prospect of pulling on the black jersey once more, with a familiar face likely to be outside Ellis at fly-half in his Crusaders team-mate Dan Carter.

"Any All Black who gets a recall is normally extremely excited and that's how he feels," added Hansen.

"It's a dream for a lot of people to be an All Black and when you lose that opportunity you have time to reflect on it and understand how much it really meant, so when you get another opportunity I think you're probably better prepared to make the most of it, so Andy's excited."

Brad Weber, George Moala and Ofa Tu'ungafasi have all been called up to train with the squad.