Andy Ellis accepts ABs call-up now unlikely
Andy Ellis appears resigned that his path into the All Blacks squad remains blocked.
Despite producing some sharp form during Canterbury's sprint into the NPC final, the Canterbury halfback is pessimistic about being named in Steve Hansen's All Blacks squad on Monday.
All indicators are Ellis has good reason to feel trepidation.
Head coach Hansen has already hinted he will carry tenacious Waikato No 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow as back-up to incumbents Aaron Smith and Piri Weepu on the four-match European tour.
A year ago Ellis was celebrating with the All Blacks as they launched a series of victory parades following their World Cup win; now, even if he produces a belter against Auckland at AMI Stadium tomorrow night, his chances of winning a recall appear remote.
Does he feel Hansen has already slammed the door closed?
"Ah, there are elements of that," Ellis said.
"Yeah, I think so ... I'm not really sure, because I haven't talked to him since I didn't get picked in that Irish series - so I don't really know.
"But the fact they have got Kerr-Barlow there and the fact Weepu's getting picked probably suggests he is not looking at me and looking more for young guys for the future."
At 28, Ellis refuses to accept he is washed up.
Although a foot complaint and a heavy workload resulted in him losing his edge towards the end of the Crusaders' campaign he has regained his zip during the NPC as Canterbury zeros in on their fifth title.
Yet the chances of an All Blacks summons appear slim unless Smith, Weepu or Kerr-Barlow stumble in the departure lounge prior to the opening match in Edinburgh on November 12.
"In some ways I kind of feel it is out of my control a bit," Ellis added.
"I can control what I do on the field and the way I conduct myself but if it is not the right style I'm not sure - I haven't talked to ‘Shag' (Hansen). I can't do too much more I don't think."
Contracted to the Crusaders until after next year's Super Rugby competition, Ellis has no burning desire to sign for an overseas club when he feels he is in the best form of his career.
This is despite his agent looking at what demand exists for a 26-test All Black.
"I think it is important to do that anyway, to see what's going on. Then you can make a really informed decision about what the future holds.
"But I still enjoy what I do here. I am only 28 and if I go now I am gone for seven or eight years. It would be a shame to leave."
Meanwhile, Taranaki first five-eighth Beauden Barrett was only cautioned following his late charge on Ellis during last weekend's semifinal.
The cynical shot felled Ellis who was blindsided after he passed the ball.
"I just felt like I ran into a car," Ellis explained. "I didn't see him coming, I think that was my problem. He came and apologised for it afterwards and said, ‘sorry, it was a cheap shot'. It was just one of those things, he is a good man - a nice kid.
"I said if the citing commissioner says anything I will play it down."
Which three first-fives would you have taken on the All Blacks' northern tour?