Ellison could be AllBlacks point of difference

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James Mortimer     06 Aug 2012     Getty Images

Williams, now an Investec Super Rugby winner, was marked by Hansen as the form second five-eighth in the competition, and once the paper work has been completed, will be available for the opening two tests before heading to Japan to link up with Panasonic.

Hurricanes captain Smith, who expects to be ready to play once Williams departs, will likely continue the most experienced midfield partnership in New Zealand rugby history with Ma'a Nonu as The Investec Rugby Championship plays out.

Nonu, who was part of the All Blacks Steinlager Series squad, but did not play, could be shifted out to cover for his old centre team-mate while he recovers from his eye injury.

While the thought of a Williams and Nonu midfield certainly is one for the arm chair selectors, the All Blacks will be wary about putting two 'power' style players into their backline.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster felt that while the linebreaking capabilities of Sonny Bill and Nonu were attractive, he has stressed that the World Champions still looked a ball playing skills at second reciever.

This is where Ellison could be an option, offering intelligence and guile as Smith does, giving the All Blacks a precision style player rather than having two dreadnoughts in the midfield.

Ellison's Highlanders partner Ben Smith has also been earmarked as a potential centre due to these same qualities.

While there is depth in the All Blacks midfield, with Richard Kahui expected to be fit for their end-of-year tours, there may be room for a development player once Williams departs.

Ryan Crotty and Tim Bateman have been talked about as contenders, as has the blockbusting Robbie Fruean, while the Blues had Francis Saili play well through the season.