All Black and Blues veteran prop Tony Woodcock will not play for the Blues next season.
Woodcock has advised Blues Coach Sir John Kirwan that he will be playing for the Highlanders in the 2013 Investec Super Rugby competition.
Blues coach Sir John Kirwan said while it’s a shame for the Blues to see Woodcock go, he understands the reasons why.
“We’ve been in discussions with Tony about his plans and while he wanted to continue playing rugby and living in New Zealand, he was searching for something new to refresh and invigorate him and his rugby.
“Of course I’d like to have him stay with us, but after 113 games for the Blues and a decade of commitment, sometimes a change is as good as a rest and I understand and support him in this tough decision,” said Kirwan.
Woodcock debuted for the Blues in 2002, and was first named an All Black that same year. He became a Blues centurion in 2011.
“It’s a big call and not an easy one to make. It’s tough to leave the Blues and my team-mates but I’ve made this decision because I think this is best for me and my family at this time,” said Woodcock.
“I want to thank the Blues for their support both now and during my 10 years with the franchise.”
Blues CEO Andy Dalton acknowledged Woodcock’s long service to the franchise and like Kirwan, is reluctant to see him move on but accepts his position.
“Tony is such a highly regarded player and has been a consistently high performer for the Blues for many years. We thank him for his service to our franchise.”
Tony Woodcock’s Blues’ Career history
Blues player No.91
113 caps for the Blues
8 tries (40 points)
Debuted in 2002 – Blues v Hurricanes