Farming and World Cup crucial for Woodcock's move

Getty Images

James Mortimer     12 Sep 2012     Getty Images

The most capped prop in All Blacks history played in the last two quadrennial tournaments, scoring the only try in the World Cup Final against France last year, playing at home despite initially coming into the squad under minor injury clouds.

Woodcock felt helping the All Blacks defend their global crown in England was doable.

“I think it's definitely an achievable goal and I think coming down here and freshening up in a new environment will help,” he said.

However other factors came into play, including his friendship with Andrew Hore, with the two a throwback to the classic days when most of the All Blacks were farmers – now the two front rowers are the only such agriculturally focused members of the current squad.

"Andrew has been hounding me the whole time," Woodcock said.

"I like the style the Highlanders play and the way Jamie (Joseph) runs things. He's a straight-up guy and what you see is what you get."

The move down South not only would see Woodcock look to extend his career, but it will be a shift for his entire family, with his two children and wife excited about the move.

"The Highlanders are a change and a new challenge for me. It will hopefully spark me to play longer and my goal is to stay in New Zealand,” he said.

“My family is excited, too.”

Highlanders fans will likely get their chance to see their star signing in action this weekend, as the All Blacks play their maiden test match at Forsyth Barr Stadium – Woodcock’s new home next season.

"Tony is a world-class loosehead prop and his ability and experience will add a huge amount to our squad and leadership,” Joseph said.

“Tony is also a good fit for the Highlanders and I know he is looking forward to moving his family to Dunedin to set up home in the South."