Rugby League: Tuigamala set to leave Wigan

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The Independent Online
Wigan are resigned to losing their third major rugby union convert in 12 months, with Va'aiga Tuigamala set to join Newcastle for pounds 500,000. Jack Robinson, the Wigan chairman, met with the unsettled player yesterday and further talks are planned for today.

The Second Division union club want to complete the deal by next week to beat the Courage League signing deadline. Wigan, reported to be pounds 3.3m in debt, sold Scott Quinnell to Richmond and Martin Offiah jointly to Bedford and London Broncos last summer, the savings on lucrative contracts being as important as the pounds 600,000 transfer fees.

Tuigamala, 27, described his recent loan spell with Wasps as "a breath of fresh air" and a one-off appearance by the former All Black against Ireland for his native Western Samoa in Dublin rekindled his desire for international rugby once more.

He returned to Wigan at the weekend but fared poorly in the Challenge Cup defeat by St Helens. The Wigan operations manager, David Bradshaw, said: "Inga has broader ambitions, encompassing international rugby, and we are hoping to be able to satisfy those dreams while he continues to play for Wigan.

"The chairman is due to have further talks with him tomorrow and we expect to resolve the situation one way or the other in the next 24 hours.

"If he is still adamant that he wants to fulfil his ambitions elsewhere, we will have to deal with that."

Wigan are desperate to halt their decline, having conceded the cup and Super League double to rivals St Helens, but financial concerns may dictate their thinking.

The Tuigamala deal is believed to be worth pounds 1m, with Newcastle having to return the pounds 180,000 Super League "loyalty" bonus and agree a three- year contract valued at around pounds 300,000.

Wigan would use the money to keep the Great Britain winger Jason Robinson at Central Park. He is due to take up a contract with the Australian Rugby League at the end of June.

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