Woodward to leave Rebels and play for Hurricanes

The Melbourne Rebels have revealed that their star fullback Jason Woodward will leave the club at the end of the Super Rugby and play for the Hurricanes.

Woodward has signed a two year deal with the New Zealand Super Rugby franchise.

Woodward will return to New Zealand, where he will attempt to fulfil his childhood ambition and represent his country as an All Black.

As is the case with Wallaby selection for Australian Rugby players, New Zealanders must be contracted to their national Rugby federation to be eligible for the All Blacks.

Woodward, who earned his 25th Rebels cap against the Brumbies last night, leaves Melbourne with a heavy heart however cited family reasons and that All Black eligibility as the key factors that swayed his decision.

“Wellington is home for me and having the chance to be closer to family and friends was a big part of the decision,” Woodward said.

“There are a few personal family matters, but also this decision allows me to follow my dream.”

“Just like any other kid who grows up in New Zealand, I have always wanted to be an All Black,” said Woodward.

“It’s a massive goal for me, and to be eligible and have a shot at that as of next season means a lot to me; I’ll give that the best crack possible. “

Jason was full of praise for the Rebels for giving him the opportunity to play Super Rugby when he didn’t have a contract in New Zealand.

He firmly believes in the strong direction in which the Rebels are heading under the leadership of Tony McGahan, and believes the past eight months have seen the establishment of both a great spirit amongst the playing group and also a higher standard set for future Rebels.

“The decision wasn’t made easy due to how much I have enjoyed my time in Melbourne,” Woodward explained.

“I have seen a lot of growth at the Club this season, and I have made a lot of friendships for life; it’s one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make. I’m gutted to be leaving, but unfortunately, this Club cannot allow me the opportunity to be an All Black.”

“The coaching staff who’ve come in this year have sparked a massive growth in the players here. The level of professionalism among the players has grown, and the Rebels can now really move away from the rebuilding phase. There’s an awesome group of core players here and it’s a credit to the Club to see so many guys committing, and the playing group that will be around here will only lead the Rebels in the right direction.”

Woodward remains committed to the Club until the end of the Super Rugby season, and determined to finish his time in Melbourne on a positive note.

“I’ve made the decision to head back home, but I won’t really start thinking about that until the season has finished. We still have three big games, the Reds at AAMI Park and then a couple in South Africa, so I am looking forward to every last minute I get in a Rebels jersey.”

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