Former All Blacks halfback Andy Ellis could be retiring from rugby following the cancellation of the Top League due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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The 36-year-old, who was most recently playing for the reigning champions Kobelco Steelers, was told to return home for a couple of weeks when the Top League was first suspended because of the pandemic in late February.

“Two weeks after that, we were told it’s cancelled,” Ellis told Newshub. “This was my last season and now I’m retired.”

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Kobelco had enjoyed an undefeated start to their 2020 Top League campaign, winning each of their opening six matches in convincing fashion to establish themselves as early contenders to retain their title.

A second Japanese domestic title would have been the perfect send-off for Ellis, who has claimed a World Cup crown, two Super Rugby titles and six New Zealand provincial championships since his first-class debut in 2005.

Ellis suggested he isn’t the only high-profile New Zealander from Kobelco that might hang up his boots prematurely.

“I’ve been having a bit of a giggle with my old mate Dan Carter and he’s in the same boat… he’s retiring after the end of the season.”

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Independent information obtained by RugbyPass suggests that neither Ellis nor Carter have made any solid plans about their futures and will instead use the current break from the game to reflect on their futures. No decisions have been made by either player regarding retirement.

Carter, one of the all-time greats, is yet to confirm his retirement plans publicly, although it remains to be seen what his future looks like beyond 2020.

Without Ellis, Kobelco would be left void of a significant amount of experience within their ranks, but the latter has prepared himself well for life after rugby.

The former 28-test halfback is involved in satellite internet and Wagyu beef business, although he’ll use the current lockdown period as time to consider what his long-term plans will be.

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