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Ellison makes cameo in Rebels win
February 8, 2014
Melbourne's Tamati Ellison is tackled by Hadleigh Parkes, Melbourne Rebels v Hurricanes, Super Rugby trial match, Simonds Stadium, Geelong, February 8, 2014
Centre Tamati Ellison liked what he saw from his new club © Getty Images

Former All Blacks centre Tamati Ellison has seen some good signs from the Melbourne Rebels after making a cameo debut in their 24-22 Super Rugby trial win over the Hurricanes at Simonds Stadium. Only three days after arriving from Japan, Ellison came off the bench for the last 20 minutes of the match as the Rebels held the New Zealand outfit scoreless for the concluding half-hour.

Ellison has set himself to win a berth in the Melbourne midfield.

"It was probably a good idea that I had a run even though I'd only had the one training session," said Ellison, who has been capped four times by New Zealand. "It's been a pretty quick turn-around, but the boys played really well and I was just jumping on the bandwagon".

Melbourne's two tries were scored in the opening half by impressive second-rower Hugh Pyle and No.8 Colby Fainga'a. The Hurricanes responded with three tries of their own from Nehe Milner-Skudder, Ardie Savea and Matt Proctor, but it wasn't quite enough.

After failing to win a single trial game in their opening three pre-seasons, the Rebels are now two-from-two in 2014, having also edged out the New South Wales Waratahs 33-28 in Albury last weekend.

"Individually you can take confidence from them," said Ellison. "You don't know what the other team is working on but when you're trying to build some belief and a mindset those wins are good, especially against a pretty good Hurricanes side."

Ellison, 30, spent most of his time in New Zealand with the Hurricanes and the Highlanders before moving to Japan. He also has good memories of Melbourne after playing in New Zealand's gold medal-winning sevens outfit at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

"It won't take me long now to get accustomed to my new team-mates," he said. "I've come down here really keen to help out. I haven't come here for a holiday, that's for sure."

Pyle expects the Rebels to have a better idea of where they stand after taking on a strong Queensland Reds outfit to round out their pre-season campaign on Friday night.

"We're still not quite where we want to be, but we'll take a lot of things out of this game," said the big second-rower, who looked to be on the verge of a Wallabies call-up last year before suffering a dislocated shoulder.


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