Players shift between rugby league and rugby union often and after a stint in Union with Saracens, Joel Tomkins has opted to return to the Wigan Warriors, a club he knows and loves.
Tomkins, still only 27, played for Saracens for three years, earning representative honours in the process with the English national side and the English Saxons.
At just 18 years of age, Tomkins made his initial debut for Wigan after coming through their development system. Starting out as a back-rower, Tomkins was eventually molded into a centre, a position he plays in to this day.
Knowing how much of an impact he has previously made with the club, Wigan Chairman Ian Lenegan is pleased to have Tomkins back from his union stint.
“To bring a player of the calibre of Joel Tomkins back to Wigan and back to Rugby League gives me great pleasure,” said Lenagan.
“His positive motives for returning will also send shockwaves across the sporting world where many people perceive sportsmen as being driven purely by money.
“We said when he left that we hoped he would return one day to pull on the famous Cherry & White shirt and this is a proud day for the Wigan Club. I’ve no doubt this will be welcomed by everyone associated with Rugby League, none more so than by Wigan fans.”
As for Tomkins himself, whilst he is grateful to Saracens for giving him the opportunity to play rugby union, returning to the game he loves is something he always planned to do.
“I’d like to thank Saracens for the opportunity for me to try a different sport, a different lifestyle and also for assisting my development which allowed me to represent my country and fulfil one of my ambitions,” said Tomkins.
“However, after a long thought-out process and at this stage in my life, I realised that the timing was right to come home.
“I am very grateful to Wigan Warriors for taking me back to the best Rugby Club in the world. I grew up in Wigan and came through the Academy system from the age of 13. It means everything to me to pull on the famous Cherry and White jersey again.”
Currently recovering from a bulging disc in his back, Tomkins is expected to return within the next month.
With culture high on the importance list for Wigan, coach Shaun Wane knows that Tomkins coming back means the culture is as strong as ever.
“To see Joel Tomkins come back to us demonstrates the strength of the culture we have here at Wigan and shows that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere,” said Wane.
“His return is a clear indication of the strength of our sport and the pleasures of playing it and I would sincerely like to thank Kris Radlinski (Rugby General Manager) and Ian Lenagan for bringing back one of the best rugby players in the world.”