England full-back Sam Tomkins to leave Wigan for New Zealand Warriors

The reigning Man of Steel has agreed a three-year deal with the Australia National Rugby League side

Wigan have announced that England full-back Sam Tomkins is to leave the club at the end of the year to move to Australia's National Rugby League.

The Warriors confirmed one of rugby league's worst-kept secrets at a press conference at the DW Stadium on Monday afternoon when they revealed the reigning Man of Steel has signed a three-year deal with New Zealand Warriors.

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan said the Super League club have secured a world record transfer fee, eclipsing the £450,000 Wigan paid Bradford for Stuart Fielden in 2007, for the 24-year-old.

"While we are reluctant to let Sam go, he goes with our blessing," Lenagan told the press conference.

Wigan unveiled North Queensland Cowboys full-back Matty Bowen as a straight replacement on a 12-month contract, with an option for a second season, and revealed they have secured an option to re-sign Tomkins after his spell in Auckland.

Bowen, 31, is seen as a stop-gap signing to give Wigan's crop of promising outside backs like Ryan Hampshire and Lewis Tierney another 12 months to continue their development.

Bowen, who has been a big crowd-pleaser in the NRL, was not offered a new contract by the Cowboys but medical checks have convinced Wigan that his knees can withstand a swansong season in England.

"As we lose one special full-back, we ring in another special full-back," Lenagan said. "He's a superb man in terms of helping young players develop."

Tomkins will be the latest of a growing band of leading players to quit Super League for the NRL.

His Wigan team-mate Lee Mossop is moving to Parramatta from 2014, joining fellow England internationals Sam Burgess and James Graham in Sydney.

It is thought Wigan have received a transfer fee of around £700,000 for the 24-year-old Tomkins, who had three years left to run on his contract.

Tomkins, who signed his deal with the Warriors three years ago, said: "This has been a very difficult decision to make but it is now perfect timing for me to make the switch to the NRL.

"It is something in my career I have always wanted to do and this agreement with the Warriors also allows me to return to Wigan in the future.

"The Wigan club have been fantastic to me from day one. I owe them a huge thank you for all they have done and I head to New Zealand with some great memories of Grand Final and Challenge Cup success and some very special times.

"Going to Auckland is a huge step for me and my rugby league career but one I am really looking forward to. Before that, though, I want to end my time with further success with Wigan as we aim for Grand-Final glory and then with England as we focus on winning the World Cup on home soil."

Bowen has spent his entire career with the Cowboys, scoring 130 tries in 270 appearances, and played for Queensland 10 times as well as winning a solitary cap for Australia in 2004.

Wigan coach Shaun Wane said: "Matty Bowen is an excellent signing for us. His qualities as a top full-back are recognised worldwide.

"His defensive game is outstanding and his ability to open up any opposition in attack with his skill and flair is second to none.

"It is fantastic that we have been able to sign Matty and, after speaking to him, it is clear he has the hunger and desire to continue his success with us here at Wigan."

Bowen said: "I am thrilled to be joining Wigan and this opportunity provides me with a whole new chapter in my playing career."

PA

News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own