Joel Tomkins joins Hull KR after resigning from Wigan Warriors following ‘embarrassing’ video scandal

The England international could make his Hull KR debut against Castleford this Sunday as his four-week suspension does not apply away from Wigan

Ian Laybourn
Monday 11 June 2018 13:22
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Joel Tomkins has left Wigan Warriors with immediate effect to join Hull KR
Joel Tomkins has left Wigan Warriors with immediate effect to join Hull KR

Joel Tomkins has spoken of his desire to make a fresh start after cutting ties with his home-town club Wigan Warriors and joining Super League rivals Hull KR.

The 31-year-old dual-code England international was suspended by the Warriors eight days ago in the aftermath of his off-field behaviour revealed in a recent video.

Tomkins was also fined £10,000 and told he would be subject to further investigations but says he took the matter into his own hands by offering his resignation to Wigan executive director Kris Radlinksi.

That was accepted and the back-row forward has signed an 18-month deal with Rovers.

“I’m sure everybody is aware of what’s gone on at Wigan and I accepted the punishment from them,” said Tomkins, who made more than 250 appearances in two spells for the Warriors either side of a brief spell in rugby union with Saracens.

“After sitting down with my family and thinking a bit harder about it, I decided that the best thing for all parties would be for me to leave the club and I offered my resignation to Kris Radlinski, which he accepted.

“I instructed my agent to look into a deal elsewhere and there were a few other Super League clubs that were interested as well as Rovers but (head coach) Tim (Sheens) called me personally and really sold the club to me, both for the back end of this year and next season.

“After a 10-minute conversation with him, my mind was made up.

“I’m really grateful to Tim and everybody else involved at Hull KR for giving me the opportunity to move on from this.

“It has been embarrassing for me, there’s no doubt about that, and it’s a sad situation for me to leave Wigan in this way, but it’s also an opportunity for me to move to a club that’s on the rise and that has some big plans moving forward. I’m genuinely excited to be a part of that.”

Although he was suspended by his club for four weeks, it was an internal sanction and Tomkins is set to make his debut for Rovers at Castleford on Sunday after meeting up with his new team-mates for training on Monday morning.

“It is a completely different challenge to what I’ve had in recent times in my career but I’m ready for that and I think it’s really going to invigorate me as a player and a person,” he added.

Hull KR coach Tim Sheens said: “We’ve been actively looking to strengthen the side for the back end of the season and Joel adds a lot of big game experience to the squad which will be vital in some of the key matches which lie ahead.

This has been a really difficult situation for all people concerned. Now it is time to move on

Kris Radlinksi

“He’s played at the highest level in both codes and won silverware in the Challenge Cup, Super League and World Club Challenge, so there’s a lot of knowledge there that he can add to the side and at 31 he’s still got a lot of rugby ahead of him.

“We’re fully aware of what’s gone on over the past week or so, but I’ve spoken to a lot of people who know Joel well and they all agree that the incident was out of character for him.

“He’ll get an opportunity to redeem himself with us and we’ll be working closely with him to ensure he takes it with his actions on and off the field.”

With Sam Tomkins set to leave Wigan at the end of the season to join Catalans Dragons and youngest brother Logan having moved on to Salford, Monday’s announcement marks the end of an era.

Radlinski said: “Joel is a good guy and somebody I care about.

“This has been a really difficult situation for all people concerned. Now it is time to move on. We thank Joel and wish him well with his future endeavours.”

Jake Connor is the surprise call-up in the England squad to face New Zealand in two weeks

Hull utility back Jake Connor is the surprise selection in England’s 19-man squad for the Test match against New Zealand in Denver on June 23.

The 23-year-old former Huddersfield player is one of three uncapped players chosen by head coach Wayne Bennett for the ground-breaking international at the Mile High Stadium.

St Helens pair Luke Thompson and Tommy Makinson are the other new faces, while Bennett has included all three Burgess brothers from South Sydney.

Connor was in the England Knights’ performance squad set to tour Papua New Guinea in the autumn but his sparkling form in a variety of positions for Hull this year has earned him promotion to the senior squad.

Prop Thompson is also promoted from the Knights after a huge season with the Betfred Super League leaders, who provide five of the 13 England-based players. The others are Makinson, who was already in the elite squad, James Roby, Mark Percival and Jonny Lomax.

Wigan provide three players in skipper Sean O’Loughlin, John Bateman and George Williams, while Stefan Ratchford and Chris Hill are Warrington’s sole representatives following the omission of hooker Daryl Clark, who had been expected to earn a recall.

PA

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