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TWO FORMER halfack greats are call-
ing for Andy Ellis to be considered for All
Blacks selection.
Te Crusaders halfack last played for
the All Blacks in the 2011 Rugby World
Cup final. In his column for the New Zea-
land Herald yesterday, former All Black
Justin Marshall wrote that he believes El-
lis to be one of the top two halfacks in
the country at the moment.
“He was outstanding last week and [on
Sunday] he was one of the Crusaders’
best, if not the best,” said Marshall.
Former All Black Graeme Bachop said
he thought Ellis had played very well on
the weekend and seemed to still have a lot
of hunger for the game.
Ellis scored a try in the 72nd minute as
the Crusaders upset the formbook to beat
the Lions 28-7 in Johannesburg, becom-
ing the first New Zealand side to win in
South Africa this season.
“He’s playing with a lot of urgency and
that’s always good to see. He’s an experi-
enced player and he looks like he’s enjoy-
ing himself,” he said.
Marshall said he would have Ellis
ahead of everyone else as the understudy
to Aaron Smith.
“Te selectors might be able to look
at the likes of (Chief) Tawera Kerr-
Barlow, (Hurricane) TJ Perenara and
(Blue) Piri Weepu and say we’re well-
equipped at halfack, and they’d be right,
but we should never be complacent,” he
said.
Bachop agreed that the back-up half-
back spot was still wide open.
“He just needs to keep doing what he’s
doing, and that’s all he can do,” said Ba-
chop.
Marshall said All Black selection
should never be a foregone conclusion,
whether it was picking someone new or
dumping someone old.
Ellis had a shaky start to the Super Rug-
by season. He was dropped for the round
three encounter with the Stormers, but an
injury to his replacement Willi Heinz saw
him come straight back into the starting
15, where he has remained since.
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