All Black returns to Blues

    2013-10-17 09:45

    Wellington - All Black veteran Tony Woodcock will return to the Blues next season, ending a disappointing one-year stint at New Zealand Super Rugby rivals the Highlanders.

    Woodcock, 32, the All Blacks' longest serving prop with 104 Test caps, said he wanted to be near his Auckland-based family as his career winds down.

    "I'm really looking forward to moving home and being closer to my family," Woodcock said.

    "I want to finish off my rugby at the Blues, where it all started, so I'm excited to head back and rejoin the team."

    Woodcock had a forgettable season with the Highlanders, who finished second last on the ladder.

    The Blues fared little better but are in a rebuilding phase under coach John Kirwan.

    "We're trying to build a lasting franchise so we've got a lot of young guys and to have someone with his experience is fantastic," Kirwan said.

    Woodcock's departure leaves the Highlanders short of seasoned props, having also lost Jamie Mackintosh to defending champions the Chiefs for the 2014 season.

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