13 Mar 2010

International Wire Story

6:30 am on 13 March 2010



UPDATE 1-Rugby-All Black Ellison to move to Japan - report

.. Japan switch ends World Cup hopes

.. Puts family before country

(Adds details, Japan club comment)

AUCKLAND, March 12 (Reuters) - All Blacks utility back Tamati Ellison has accepted a lucrative move to a Japanese club, which would end any hopes he had of being involved in the 2011 rugby World Cup in New Zealand, according to a local media report.

Ellison would activate a get-out clause in his New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) contract and miss the domestic provincial championship for Wellington, the Dominion Post newspaper reported on Friday.

The NZRU has a policy of only selecting players based in New Zealand for the All Blacks.

His agent, Bruce Sharrock, said the player was turning his back on domestic rugby in order to secure the financial future of his young family.

Japan's Ricoh Black Rams, who have Australia's Stephen Larkham and Ellison's former Hurricanes team mate Roy Kinikinilau among their ranks, have been linked with the one-test All Black.

However, the Japanese top league side would not immediately confirm Ellison's signing.

"There has been no formal announcement," Black Rams official Daiki Matsuno told Reuters.

The 26-year-old Ellison has been one of the form players in New Zealand over the past two seasons and made his test debut against Italy at the end of last year.

The player is in South Africa with the Wellington Hurricanes, who play the Stormers in a Super 14 game in Cape Town on Saturday.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury and Alastair Himmer in Tokyo.

Editing by Tony Jimenez. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)