Sam Tomkins to depart Wigan for Catalans

Sam Tomkins will leave Wigan Warriors at the end of the 2018 season after signing a three-year deal with Catalans.

The Warriors have confirmed that Tomkins, one of the club’s current marquee players, has decided to take up a new challenge, with the fullback reuniting with former England coach Steve McNamara in the south of France.

“I’m really looking forward to the next chapter of my career at the Dragons,” Tomkins said.

“I have always enjoyed playing at the Gilbert Brutus Stadium and it will be good to call it home. After speaking with Catalans, it was clear the club has big ambitions for the future and I want to be part of that. I have worked with Steve for 5 years at international level and I am looking forward to working with him again. I have good friends already playing at the club in Micky and Lewis and they speak very highly of the club, players and staff so I know I’m in good hands.”

He returned to Wigan in 2016 following a two-year stint with the New Zealand Warriors and came back to Super League as one of the competition’s top earners.

Wigan had an option to extend Tomkins’ stay as a marquee player next year, and while the club claim they did offer the 29-year-old a deal to remain a marquee player, it was on a reduced salary.

However, Wigan have voiced their disapproval at an alleged breach of protocol, claiming the club Tomkins is moving to have made an illegal approach.

Kris Radlinski, the club’s Executive Director, said: “Wigan had an option on Sam’s contract to keep him as one of our marquee players for 2019. After a great deal of consideration, taking all of the factors into account and following an open and honest conversation with Sam, the club felt that the option salary set when Sam returned from New Zealand was too high and opted instead to offer a substantial new four-year deal in its place. This new deal was still one of the top three contracts that the club has offered anyone in the past 10 years and was as a marquee player still.

“Sam subsequently told us that the opportunity for him and his family to experience a different culture and lifestyle and to see his kids speaking another language was something that really appealed to him. He also said he wasn’t expecting the Wigan offer to be as good as it was and that had made the decision even more difficult.

“It came as a surprise to us that another club had engaged with Sam so early in the year when the deadline for approaching a player under contract is at the end of April. We have made our feelings known about this to the club involved.”

Tomkins burst onto the scene at Wigan in 2008 and played a pivotal role in their Grand Final glory in 2010. He won the Man of Steel in 2012.

His move to Catalans paves the way for Zak Hardaker’s arrival at the club, which has now been completed.