Crusaders draft in cover for injured Ellis

The Crusaders have called in Steve Alfeld as cover for All Blacks halfback Andrew Ellis who suffered a “high ankle sprain” in Friday’s Super 14 pre-season match against the Hurricanes in Motueka.

The Crusaders won the match convincingly but when you lose a crucial player in a match that counts for little it hurts.

Even though Ellis is able to bear weight on the injured leg he could be sidelined for six weeks so Afield, who was a member of the Crusaders wider training group will remain with the Crusaders until Ellis recovers.

As Ellis was the first choice Kahn Fotuali’i will more than likely be promoted to first choice halfback and this means he will probably start in the Crusaders’ opening round matches against the Brumbies, Bulls and Stormers.

Crusaders coach Robbie Deans said Ellis will have a second MRI scan but he is optimistic that Ellis could be back in Six weeks time.

Should the Crusaders start their trial match against the Force on the weekend with Fotuali’i at 9 it will be the first time since May 2004 that they have not fielded an All Black in the No. 9 jersey.


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