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Woodcock leaves the Blues, likely to link up with Highlanders

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theblues.co.nz     09 Sep 2012     Getty Images

Blues coach 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 Blues 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.”