Ellis to retire from Super Rugby

Date published: May 16 2016

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Crusaders and All Blacks scrum-half Andy Ellis has announced that this year's Super Rugby campaign will be his last.

Ellis, who is preparing to notch up his 150th Super Rugby game this weekend, joined the Crusaders in 2006 after debuting for Canterbury the previous year.

His intelligent and aggressive style of play soon caught the attention of national selectors too and he made his first All Blacks appearance later that same year.

In announcing his intention to retire from Super Rugby at the end of this season, Ellis said he had loved every minute in the red and black jersey.

"I love this team as much now as I did when I was growing up dreaming of a one day making it this far," he told the Crusaders' official website.

"It has been a privilege and an honour to represent to the Crusaders for the past 10 years and, to be honest, I don't really want it to end.

"But I have thought my decision through carefully and it is really important to me that I finish on a high and while I am still loving it, so I know this is the right thing for me to do.

"I will give absolutely everything I've got to this team for the rest of the 2016 season and then leave here with no regrets."

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder said Ellis would leave a big hole in the team when he goes.

"Andy has such enormous character and such boundless energy that he makes a huge impact on those around him," he expalined.

"He has been an important leader in this group for a number of years now and has really helped to shape this team. We have been lucky to have a player of his calibre for 150 games and counting, and we will be very sorry to see him go.

"But there is no doubt he will leave a legacy here, particularly in the way he has helped to mentor and develop our younger players.

"On behalf of everyone at the BNZ Crusaders, we wish Andy the very best for his 150th game this weekend, and we look forward to celebrating this occasion and the rest of the season with him."

Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach also noted Ellis' immense contribution to the team.

"Andy has been a fan favourite for many years with his ready smile and skillful play," he said.

"He is also a favourite amongst his teammates and the wider staff though, and his humour and friendship will be sorely missed around here. We thank him for the huge contribution he has made and we congratulate him on reaching the impressive milestone of 150 games for the Crusaders.

"We will enjoy every minute we have with him for the rest of the season and then farewell him appropriately when the time comes."

Ellis will continue to play for the Kobelco Steelers club in Japan, who he joined in 2014, after retiring from Super Rugby.

He will become just the third Crusader to play 150 games for team when they host the Waratahs this Friday in Christchurch. Ellis said it would be special to mark the occasion in front of his home crowd.

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