Wellington fullback Jason Woodward will be a Hurricane next season after inking a two-year deal to return to his home franchise.
The 24-year-old will return to the capital at the end of this year's Super Rugby competition ending a two season stint with the Melbourne Rebels.
It's unclear whether Woodward will be available to play for Wellington in this year's national provincial championship, but he provides the Hurricanes yet-to-be-appointed new coach with a timely replacement for Japan-bound Hurricanes fullback Andre Taylor.
Woodward headed across the Tasman following Wellington's 2011 NPC campaign, and has become a key member of the Rebels, where he became the franchise's all-time leading points scorer during Saturday's 37-10 loss to the Brumbies.
After initially indicating he was keen to seek eligibility for the Wallabies, it appears the former New Zealand under 20s representative will chase a place in the All Blacks.
Woodward has bulked up considerably during his time in Australia where he's transformed from a 82kg to 101kg and also become one of Super Rugby's top goal kickers.
He was recently singled out by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen as a player he would like to see return home and push his case in New Zealand rugby.
Woodward recently confirmed to The Dominion Post the All Blacks remained his number one goal and could not rule out a return to Wellington.
He said in a statement today he would be leaving Melbourne with a heavy heart, but couldn't resist the offer to play for the Hurricanes.
"Being a Wellington boy, having the opportunity to return home and fulfill my childhood dream of being a Hurricane was an opportunity I couldn't pass up," he said.
''Along with achieving that dream, I do have ambitions of becoming an All Black and am stoked to be able to give myself the best opportunity possible at reaching these goals."
Woodward's pedigree includes winning the IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina in a team that included current All Blacks Julian Savea and Tawera Kerr-Barlow as well as wider training group members Liam Coltman and Luke Whitelock.
Hurricanes chief executive James Te Puni said it was pleasing to be able to reclaim a locally produced player.
"We've all watched him develop, firstly with Upper Hutt, then the Wellington Lions, and also during his time at the Rebels. He's taken massive strides as a player and we're certainly looking forward to seeing him run on in the Hurricanes jersey.
"He's an outstanding fullback, he can play on the wing, and he can also kick goals, so he ticks a lot of boxes for us in addition to being a home-grown Wellington talent."
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