Wellington, Hurricanes and All Black Utility Back Tamati Ellison has opted to sign with a currently unnamed Japanese club, starting at the end of this year's Super 14. This means Ellison won't be available for the All Blacks in the Tri-Nations - although his inclusion was by no means guaranteed where he in effect tussles head-to-head with Blues back Isaia Toeava for the reserve utility role in the All Blacks.
Ellison is taking advantage of his increased marketability of being an All Black (albeit only of 1 test and 1 game vs the Barbarians) and trying to beat the usual Post-WC flood of Southern Hemisphere players to Northern clubs.
This will be a blow to the Hurricanes and Wellington Lions where Ellison has so often been a solid and controlled influence in an often flighty backline.
With Ellison now unavailable, Robbie Fruean transferred fully to Canterbury (as opposed to drafting or engaging in a 'loan-back' deal) and Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith likely to be all but fully unavailable, Wellington will find themselves somewhat lean in the midfield stakes, where they have classy but inexperienced players in Alapati Leiua, Sean Treeby and Charlie Ngatai.