Tamati Ellison keen to return to New Zealand

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:03 02/04/2014
Tamati Ellison
SCOTT BARBOUR/ Getty
KEEN TO COME HOME: Tamati Ellison hopes he'll be allowed to play for a New Zealand Super Rugby franchise next season.

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Rugby nomad Tamati Ellison has enjoyed his time in Melbourne, but wants to return to New Zealand next season.

The Rebels centre will line up against many of his former Highlanders team mates in Dunedin on Friday night, determined to show everyone just what they missed out on when the New Zealand Rugby Union turned down the Highlanders' attempt to gain a dispensation for Ellison to return to the southern franchise this season.

Ellison's time spent playing in Japan had seen him classified as an ''overseas'' player and meant he eventually washed up in Melbourne after two seasons with the Highlanders.

The 30-year-old former All Black centre, who is playing for his fourth Super Rugby franchise, said he held no ill will over the NZRU's decision.

''I fully understand the situation in terms of how the contracts are structured back home, and the reasons why they do that. It was a wee bit of a long shot, to be fair, but that's water under the bridge for me and I'm enjoying my time here at the Rebels,'' Ellison said.

''That's not to say that I won't look at a contract back home next year.''

Ellison will take a break after Super Rugby before heading back to his Ricoh Black Rams club in Japan.

From there he will investigate whether the eligibility rules would continue to keep him out of a New Zealand Super Rugby team.

''I have to talk to the NZRU and a few other people and see if there's going to be any movement around that.

''I really enjoyed my time with the Highlanders and enjoyed Dunedin. At the same time, I grew up in Porirua and played six years for the Hurricanes, so my wife wouldn't mind going home as well, and getting our kids into a school back there.''

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