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Woodward has designs on Wallabies
ESPN Staff
December 3, 2013
The Rebels' Jason Woodward wears his mouthguard on his left ear, Melbourne Rebels v British & Irish Lions, AAMI Park, Melbourne, June 25, 2013
Jason Woodward adds a certain je ne sais quois to the Rebels © Getty Images
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Jason Woodward hopes to take another step towards becoming a Wallabies international when he runs out for his second Super Rugby season in 2014, the former Wellington Lions and New Zealand Under-20 player content to remain with Melbourne Rebels.

The New Zealander must play three successive seasons in Australia to be considered for Test selection, but he has no plans to move from Melbourne even though he grew up wanting to play for the All Blacks. "Being a Kiwi boy, I obviously wanted to be an All Black my whole life," Woodward said. "And that doesn't go away just because you move overseas. But I've been loving life. My wife and I have really set up home here and I love playing for the club, and if I was to stay I would play for Australia, without a doubt."

Woodward liked what he saw on television as the Wallabies won four Tests on their end-of-year tour of Europe, saying "they've definitely come right and are getting their combinations sorted, and under the new coach have hit their straps".

"I think they will be a big challenge for the Springboks and the All Blacks next year."

Woodward will be pivotal to Melbourne's success in 2014, with the Rebels having lost backline stars Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor as well as Cooper Vuna and Richard Kingi. He is also set to take over the goal-kicking duties.

Woodward said Melbourne's pre-season had gone to a new level under new coach Tony McGahan, who was leaving no stone unturned in seeking an improved team. "He's definitely stepped this pre-season up so we've been getting flogged pretty hard," Woodward said. "The backline's looking pretty sharp so it will be good to get out on the field together."

© AAP
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