Crusaders halfback and former All Black Andy Ellis has announced this will be his last season of Super Rugby.

Ellis, who will play his 150th match for the franchise when the Crusaders host the Waratahs at AMI Stadium on Friday, said it was important for him to finish on a high.

"I love this team as much now as I did when I was growing up dreaming of a one day making it this far," he said. "It has been a privilege and an honour to represent to the Crusaders for the past 10 years and, to be honest, I don't really want it to end. But I have thought my decision through carefully and it is really important to me that I finish on a high and while I am still loving it, so I know this is the right thing for me to do.

"I will give absolutely everything I've got to this team for the rest of the 2016 season and then leave here with no regrets," Ellis said.


The 32-year-old Ellis played 28 tests for the All Blacks. He made his debut against England at Twickenham in 2006 and played his last test last year against Argentina in Christchurch.

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder, who will himself leave at the end of the season, said Ellis would leave a big hole in the team.

"Andy has such enormous character and such boundless energy that he makes a huge impact on those around him," Blackadder said. "He has been an important leader in this group for a number of years now and has really helped to shape this team.

We have been lucky to have a player of his calibre for 150 games and counting, and we will be very sorry to see him go. But there is no doubt he will leave a legacy here, particularly in the way he has helped to mentor and develop our younger players."

Ellis, an award-winning landscape architect, will continue to play for the Kobelco Steelers in Japan, a club he joined in 2014.