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Thank you Tamati

As we close the door on the 2023 season, we wanted to say thank you to departing Wellington Lions Head Coach Tamati Ellison for all his efforts this year, and the legacy he has left at Wellington Rugby.

Jumping on board as Head Coach for the 2023 NPC campaign, Tamati had a big task ahead after the Lions previous year successes where they took out the big prize as well as claimed the Ranfurly Shield.

Although the Lions couldn’t emulate those achievements, the Lions had a great year under Tamati with only two losses and finishing the regular season on top of the table.

Before he departed, we asked Tamati his thoughts on the season.

How much did you enjoy your stint as Lions Head Coach this year?

“I loved it! I always knew it would be a great challenge after we won the double and lost so many leaders from that team last year, but I had an awesome time with the Lions. A time I’ll never forget.”

What were your highlights of the season?

“The highlights for me were the younger players and coaches that stepped up this season. They did a fantastic job and seeing that as the season progressed was amazing. I feel the team is in great hands.

Despite not making the final this season, how proud are you of the team’s efforts?

“Immensely proud. I am proud of the leader’s that drove the standards this season. After losing Jackson (Garden-Bachop) and Pekahou (Cowan), then starting the season without TJ (Perenara), Julian (Savea), Asafo (Aumua) and Jimmy O (James O’Reilly), it was a real test for this side, but they all stood up. Couldn’t be more proud of the boys.”

What do you want to leave as part of your legacy at Wellington Rugby?

“Two things: Effort and authenticity. Try your best every day and be proud to be who you truly are.”

What’s next for Tamati Ellison?

“Whānau time.”

Any last words for the fans?

“Thank you for all the support you have shown us throughout this season. We need to continue to support our young men and women who go out every game trying their best to represent.”

Wellington Rugby CEO Shannon Paku was full of praise for Tamati, saying Wellington Rugby is a lot richer due to Tamati’s time in the organisation.

“There’s no denying Tamati’s time with Wellington Rugby has had a positive effect on the wider Lions environment. He’s brought a high level of professionalism and rugby intellect that’s improved the environment. But it’s not just his rugby knowledge that’s been valuable, it’s how he treats people with awhi (care). Always taking the time to acknowledge everyone, those principles have rubbed off on many people here and will be part of his legacy here at Wellington Rugby.”

Thank you Tamati and we wish you well!