Long-time Highlander Ash Dixon has announced he is leaving New Zealand’s rugby scene to pick up a two-year deal in Japan.
Dixon, who has been with the Highlanders since 2015 and later became a co-captain of the side, announced today he will be heading to Japan to play in the new League One competition which starts in January.
“I’ve put a lot of thought into it and it was not an easy decision for myself and my family to make, I’ve had some incredibly great times with the team, and I will cherish them forever,” Dixon said.
“The fans have been absolutely incredible the love and kindness shown to me and my family has been amazing, and we will be forever grateful, thank you all so much.”
Dixon started his career with the Hurricanes but moved south soon after, going on to help the side to their first Super Rugby title before earning his 100 th Highlanders cap during the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final against the Blues earlier this year.
Highlanders coach Tony Brown said Dixon has left a long-lasting legacy at the club.
“Ash will be remembered as one of the great Highlander’s men; his contribution to the club both on and off the field has been immense, as co-captain he has been the ultimate professional,” Brown said.
Dixon has also made 19 appearances for the Māori All Blacks where he was captain and featured prominently for Hawke's Bay provincially where he has been a Ranfurly Shield holder and Mitre 10 Cup champion.