Injured Crusaders' half Ellis upbeat - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Injured Crusaders' half Ellis upbeat

Chris Barclay 05/07/2011 06:10:12 PM Comments (0)

Crusaders' halfback Andy Ellis is ready to play through pain to help secure an emotion-charged Super Rugby championship as he renews his friendly rivalry with one-time roommate Will Genia.

The All Black halfback suffered shoulder and knee injuries when brought down by Springbok flanker Schalk Burger's soccer-style sliding tackle last Saturday during the Crusaders' 29-10 semi-final win over the Stormers in Cape Town - a crude challenge which went unsanctioned.

Ellis dismisses concerns about his swollen knee but a tender AC joint means he will have to get through the pain barrier against Queensland on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.

"A lot of the guys get it (AC joint injuries) and they carry on playing through a season. You just have to deal with a bit of pain," said Ellis.

"The first tackle might be a bit tough but after that you're generally OK. I can't do any more damage."

Ellis starts a painkilling regime on Wednesday, intends to resume training on Thursday and will be named in the starting line-up providing he can "function and pass well".

He is desperate to play in the final, an occasion full of significance for supporters back home in earthquake-devastated Christchurch.

"It's pretty special. It's (the Crusaders' season) put a smile on a lot of people's faces back home and given a bit of hope," Ellis said.

"The boys have definitely fed off that and we're not satisfied to just stop here. We're pretty keen to finish off."

Ellis is also looking forward to another match-up against Queensland and Wallabies' halfback Genia, an adversary he developed a friendship with when they played last year for the Barbarians.

"He was my roomie for the week so we hung out, went for coffees and chilled out. We've kept in touch ever since," Ellis said.

"We'll probably have a beer afterwards and catch him for a coffee during the week.

If Ellis is ruled out, Kahn Fotuali'i - who produced arguably the game of his season at Newlands - lines up against Genia. Willie Heinz has joined the squad on standby.

Reserve lock Luke Romano, who was diagnosed with chickenpox in Cape Town, was scheduled to join the squad early Wednesday after being released from quarantine.

Crusaders' management is hopeful he will be able to take his place on the bench as cover for Brad Thorn and Sam Whitelock.

If not, former All Blacks' lock and veteran Crusader Chris Jack will make one last appearance before he ventures to Japan.

In contrast to the predictable rancour associated with Wednesday night's rugby league State of Origin decider, the trans-Tasman rivals publicly share a mutual respect.

Crusaders' assistant coach Daryl Gibson praised coach Ewen McKenzie's achievement in guiding the Reds to their first Super Rugby final, while Queensland captain James Horwill is similarly impressed with the seven-time champion Crusaders' ability to overcome adversity associated with the February 22 earthquake.

"We've got to play our best game of the year to win," he said, placing little significance on the Reds' 17-16 regular season victory on May 29," Horwill said.

"They're seasoned at this level. They've been there, done that before."

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