The Crusaders have continued their impressive offseason recruitment drive, although this time it’s their coaching staff getting a new addition. Former All Black Tamati Ellison is joining as an assistant.
Ellison will replace Welshman Mark Jones, who departed the club this month to join Worcester in the UK amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 37-year-old, who earned four Test caps, has quietly been building his coaching resume both in New Zealand and abroad, recently working as a player-coach in the Japanese Top League with Kurita Water Gush and as an assistant to Wellington in the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup season.
Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson said he was delighted to add Ellison to management.
“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.”
Ellison’s recruitment comes after the Crusaders announced last week they had also signed two new players in former Highlander Josh McKay and six-cap All Black Rene Ranger.
Ellison said he’s excited to work with the group.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The Crusaders' opening Super Rugby Aotearoa game is against the Highlanders in Dunedin on February 26.