Scott Higginbotham Announces Move To Japan

Melbourne Rebels captain leaving Australian Rugby.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

Wallabies back-rower Scott Higginbotham has announced his decision to leave the Melbourne Rebels following next year’s Rugby World Cup and will sign a deal in Japan.

Following in the footsteps of Queensland captain James Horwill, who last month signed a post-World Cup deal with English club Harlequins, Higginbotham will take up a lucrative contract overseas following a final season with the Rebels and a hopeful selection in the Wallabies’ World Cup squad for September and October of next year.

The 28-year-old was handed the full-time Rebels captaincy last season after joining the team from Queensland in 2013 and has produced 27 tries in 93 Super Rugby appearances.

“I love the Rebels and I also love every opportunity to play for my country; I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities I have been given in Australia,” Higginbotham said in a statement on the Rebels’ website.

“I’m so excited for the season ahead with the Rebels and the Wallabies, and all the success to be had in 2015.”

The Perth-born Higginbotham has made 29 appearances for the Rebels in two seasons, however coach Tony McGahan says the club will be well prepared to replace the 1.95m, 110kg monster once he departs for Japan.

“Scott has been an important part of our squad and wonderful ambassador for the Club and Victorian Rugby over the last two seasons, and will continue to be in 2015,” McGahan said.

“Scott will be missed; however his departure at the end of the 2015 season provides an exciting opportunity for the next young Rebels player to push through in back row positions.

“Our consistent recruitment and retention program over the last twelve months will allow the club to move forward in the best possible direction.”

Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.