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Ellison has joined the coaching staff of the defending Super Rugby Aotearoa champions, replacing Welshman Mark Jones, who opted not to come back to New Zealand.
Ellison, a 37-year-old former All Black midfield back, will assist with team defence and position-specific player development.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said Ellison was well-respected on and off the field and the Crusaders were excited to have him add his expertise to their 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,” Robertson said.
Ellison has played for three New Zealand Super Rugby franchises — the Blues, Hurricanes and Highlanders — and also turned out for the Melbourne Rebels for three
He played for a significant period for the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan and finished his career in Japan.
Although he only played for two seasons for the Highlanders, he made a significant impact.
Unfortunately, an injured shoulder delayed his start to the 2013 season and his experience was greatly missed as the Highlanders lost their first eight games of the season.
He played five games for Otago in 2012.
Ellison coached at the Japanese side the Kurita Water Gush, and he was part of the Wellington Lions coaching group for the 2020 provincial season.