Qantas Wallabies and RaboDirect Rebels backrower Scott Higginbotham will leave Australian Rugby after the 2015 Rugby World Cup, where he is in contention to represent Australia.
Higginbotham will move to Japan to take up a contract in Japan.
Higginbotham moved to Melbourne from the Queensland Reds in 2013 and has made 93 Super Rugby appearances, scoring an impressive 27 tries in the process.
Higginbotham led the Club while Gareth Delve was injured in 2013, and was appointed as the Rebels’ permanent Captain in 2014.
Rebels’ Head Coach McGahan said he understood Higginbotham’s decision to continue his career abroad.
“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.”
Higginbotham stressed that his focus remains purely on matters in Melbourne, and Australia, for the upcoming season.
“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.
“I’m so excited for the season ahead with the Rebels and the Wallabies, and all the success to be had in 2015.”