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Likely Test Debut Music To Ellison's Ears

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Likely Test Debut Music To Ellison's Ears

By Mark Geenty of NZPA

Milan, Nov 10 NZPA - Forget a potential All Blacks test rugby debut at centre before 75,000 fans at one of the world's most famous soccer stadiums.

Tamati Ellison has been consumed with far more pressing matters this week, which directly affect his popularity within the All Blacks' tour squad.

Music committee chairman.

Don't snigger, warns Ellison. This is serious business as he and lock Anthony Boric try to find a happy medium on the team bus between Johnny Cash fan Andrew Hore and the rest of the hip-hop-loving Hurricanes.

"It has been stressful... but the feedback's been pretty positive," Ellison sighed with some relief.

"I'm coming right. We had a bit of a hiccup today, the bus always has different plugs so we went from Tokyo to Cardiff and now we've got a new set here. But the music hasn't been too bad."

The plug issue was solved by a Coldplay DVD, Ellison said, which seemed to find a happy medium.

Indeed, singer Chris Martin's lyrics have come to his rescue on several occasions this tour when his status as music committee chairman was under serious threat.

While exclusive hip-hop gets the nod on the Hurricanes' team bus and dressing room, Hore apparently found enough All Blacks allies here from outside Wellington.

"I'm into hip hop so the first day I brought a bit of hip hop, I thought if it was toned down, but it wasn't to be," Ellison said, ruefully.

"Coldplay's probably about as hip hop as it gets, or the Eagles.

"Horey's a Johnny Cash man, I've had a bit of Pearl Jam, The Boss, Akon creeps in there now and then."

So, for now, all's well with Ellison's popularity.

Now comes the real business of shaking off a run of minor injuries and finally making his test debut against Italy at San Siro.

There's been several false starts for the man deemed Conrad Smith's backup at centre.

One of four uncapped players in the 33-man squad, he felt his chances were over when he suffered a freak calf injury at All Blacks training in Wellington in mid-August.

When the calf flared again in Tokyo when he was set to take the bench against the Wallabies, Ellison wondered if it was meant to be.

"I don't normally get too down about things but before the Aussie game after I tweaked my calf it was really frustrating, having come back and had a few games," he said.

"The boys have been really good. I've got a lot of close mates in this team. I emailed my father and spoke to my partner and they were reasonably positive. I was just happy it wasn't all over in Tokyo and I was catching a plane back to New Zealand."

Touch wood, the 26-year-old grandson of 1950s All Black Vince Bevan is poised to take his chance, with centres Richard Kahui and Isaia Toeava ruled out with injury.

Known as a utility, Ellison's favourite position is centre so it's a nervous wait for the team to be named early on Thursday (NZT).

He wasn't counting his chickens, but the excitement was starting to build.

"There's a definite buzz that an opportunity could be coming up. It's been that way since the first few weeks so it's been really good.

"I'm not sure what I'll feel. I'm definitely looking forward to it. I'm a footy player not a bag boy so I'd love an opportunity."


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