All Black and Blues veteran prop Tony Woodcock has told Blues coach Sir John Kirwan he'll be playing for the Highlanders in the 2013 Super 15 season
"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,'' Woodcock said today.
Kirwan said that while it was a shame to see Woodcock go, he understood 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,'' Kirwan said.
Woodcock debuted for the Blues in 2002 and was named an All Black that year.
He logged 100 games for the team last year.
Blues chief executive Andy Dalton acknowledged Woodcock's service to the Blues and while he was also reluctant to see him move on, he accepted it.
"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,'' he said.
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