Tomkins heads back to Wigan

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Published: Thursday 16th April 2015 by The News Editor

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England international Sam Tomkins will return to Wigan next season, it has been confirmed.

The 2012 Super League Man of Steel is to cut short his stay in the NRL with New Zealand Warriors and rejoin his home-town club on a four-year contract.

The announcement was made by Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan at half-time in Thursday night’s First Utility Super League derby with Warrington at the DW Stadium.

Tomkins, who left Wigan at the end of their 2013 Grand-Final triumph, sought a release from the last 12 months of his three-year contract with the Auckland-based Warriors after becoming homesick.

Wigan received a world record transfer fee thought to be around £700,000 for Tomkins when they agreed to release him in September 2013 but retained first option to re-sign him in the event of him returning to Super League and have agreed a fee in excess of £200,000 to get him back.

“I am really happy to have this sorted and to be returning home to Wigan,” Tomkins said on the big screen. “All of my friends and family live in Wigan, a lot of them play for Wigan. It really was a no-brainer for me when I sat down and thought about things.”

Tomkins, who celebrated his 26th birthday last month, becomes the third England international to rejoin Wigan in the last 12 months.

Older brother Joel came back last June from a spell in rugby union with Saracens and prop forward Lee Mossop cut short his stay in the NRL with Parramatta at the end of last season.

The return of Wigan’s latest prodigal son was greeted with delight by home fans at the DW Stadium.

Tomkins made his Wigan bow, at the age of 19, against Whitehaven in a fifth round Challenge Cup tie in May 2008, when he became the first player in rugby league history to score five tries on his first-grade debut.

He went on to make 129 Super League appearances from 2009-13, in which he scored 107 tries.

Thursday’s announcement will signal the departure of Australian full-back Matt Bowen, who was signed as Tomkins’ replacement, initially on a 12-month contract which was subsequently extended.

Tomkins, currently recovering from a knee injury, added: “It’s been a fantastic experience to test myself in the NRL but the reality is I am 13,000 miles away from my friends and family.

“When I left Wigan I always knew in my heart that I would return to play for the club one day and I am very excited at the thought of returning to the DW Stadium and pulling on that famous jersey once again.

“I have really enjoyed my time in New Zealand and can’t thank everyone enough here as they have all done so much to make me feel welcome here since my arrival last year. My sole focus for the remainder of 2015 is to help the Warriors make the play-offs as we look to mount a serious challenge for the NRL Premiership.”

Wigan coach Shaun Wane said: “Once I heard that Sam was looking to come back to England next year I knew we had to pull out all the stops to have him here. He is one of our own and a truly world-class player.

“Sam knows what we are all about here at Wigan. He understands our culture and our systems and will slot perfectly back into my squad. My thanks go to our chairman Ian Lenagan and rugby director Kris Radlinski who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.”

Published: Thursday 16th April 2015 by The News Editor

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