Rebels’ Ellison says Kiwis playing freely

Australia’s Super Rugby teams can learn from the free-flowing attack of their Kiwi counterparts, according to veteran Melbourne Rebels centre Tamati Ellison.

The New Zealand sides have dominated Australian teams so far this season, with the Rebels on the wrong end of their clashes with the Highlanders and Hurricanes.

In a worrying sign for the Wallabies ahead of Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship Tests, only the Brumbies have managed to chalk up success against a New Zealand outfit.

With a swag of their World Cup stars moving offshore or retiring, a new wave of All Black contenders is putting their hands up.

Ellison, with four Test caps, said the Kiwis were playing with more freedom in attack that was proving difficult to defend against, demonstrated in the Hurricanes’ 38-13 win last round over his team.

“It looks like the Kiwis are playing really free rugby and moving the ball and avoiding contact and making sure they get the ball to space is probably the thing we’ve picked out the most,” Ellison said.

“The first and second year guys are playing with a lot of confidence so the older guys (in the All Blacks) might have to start making some moves.”

The Rebels could have their hands full with South African attack with Friday night’s opponents, the Cheetahs, running in 14 tries in their 92-17 win over Japan’s Sunwolves.

Ellison was shocked by the scoreline and said he believed it might be hard for the Cheetahs to back up in their clash at AAMI Park.

“You have blowouts but that was huge so the Cheetahs will take a lot of confidence out of that,” he said.

“If you do have a big win, it can go either way … it’s probably harder when it’s your first big one like that.”

The 33-year-old might not be at the match with his fourth baby overdue.

He said he hadn’t made a decision if he would play.

“There’s an 80-minute window there so, hopefully, she can hold off,” he joked.

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