Blues sign two All Blacks

Fri, 18 Oct 2013 10:29
Large tom donnelly crusaders2 Large tony woodcock waves

All Black veterans Tom Donnelly and Tony Woodcock will be playing for the Blues next year.

All Black veterans Tom Donnelly and Tony Woodcock will be playing for the Blues next year.

Donnelly, a lock, is heading north to join the Blues after the 32-year-old former Highlander and Crusader has signed with the franchise for one year and said he was looking forward to a fresh new challenge.
"I'm really keen to continue playing in New Zealand and when this opportunity came up to join the Blues I jumped at the chance," Donnelly said.
"I've really been enjoying my time with Otago this season and imparting some of my knowledge and experience onto a young group of players and I'm relishing the opportunity to do the same with a similarly young and exciting Blues team."
With the departure of key locks Ali Williams and Anthony Boric at the end of last season, Blues head coach John Kirwan said Donnelly would provide invaluable experience at the line-out in their absence.
"We've signed young Patrick Tuipulotu and have Liaki Moli and Culum Retallick as our other locks and so we felt we needed a little more experience for this young side and Tom will certainly bring that," Kirwan said.
"He's had a year away in Japan and was part of the Crusaders last season but he's pretty keen for a new challenge and we're looking forward to having his expertise at the franchise."
Donnelly made his Super Rugby debut for the Highlanders in 2004 and earned the first of his 15 All Blacks Test caps against Australia in 2009.
After eight years with the Highlanders, Donnelly joined the Crusaders in 2012 and headed overseas to join the Mitsubishi Club in Japan later that year, before returning for the Crusaders' 2013 Super Rugby campaign.
* Meanwhile the World Cup-winning All Black prop, Tony Woodcock, is returning to the Blues after committing to the franchise for the 2014 Super Rugby season.
The most capped All Black prop (104 Test caps) and just the second player to reach 100 games for the Blues, 32-year-old Woodcock said he was looking forward to returning to the franchise after playing last season for the Highlanders.
"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 and so I'm excited to head back and re-join the team."
Kirwan said he was thrilled to welcome back a player with Woodcock's credentials and vast experience.
"I'm really excited to have Woody back at the Blues," Kirwan said.
"We're trying to build a lasting franchise and so we've got a lot of young guys and to have someone with his experience is fantastic. I see him as one of our people - he's had his OE and now he's back and so I think he'll add plenty of value to this team."

The 2014 Blues squad will be formally announced on October 30.

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 04 December 2015
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h05 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Ulster v Edinburgh 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Gloucester v Sale Sharks 19h45 Kingsholm
Sat, 05 December 2015
Treviso v Scarlets 15h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster 15h00 Scotstoun
Harlequins v London Irish 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 15h00 Sixways
Bath v Northampton Saints 15h15 Recreation Ground
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 17h30 Ricoh Arena
Sun, 06 December 2015
Dragons v Munster 14h30 Rodney Parade
Newcastle Falcons v Saracens 15h00 Kingston Park
Zebre v Ospreys 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26