Warriors stars Josh Charnley and Dan Sarginson have confirmed their departures from Wigan at the end of the season.
Dan Sarginson will head to the NRL to join the Gold Coast Titans and Josh Charnley is heading to play rugby union at Sale Sharks.
Charnley joins the Aviva Premiership club having rekindled some of the form in the early part of this season which made him a fans’ favourite at the DW Stadium.
After a frustrating campaign by his own standards in 2015, Charnley has so far crossed for seven tries in the opening eight rounds of the current season, and Warriors owner Ian Lenagan said he tried to keep the winger, who was out of contract at the end of the current campaign, at Wigan with a substantial offer.
“We offered Josh a new long-term contract that would put him up there with the biggest earners at the club,” said Lenagan.
“But having won so much at Wigan, he feels that the time is right to take on a new challenge. After seeing Josh return to form this year after an indifferent 2015 season, we are naturally disappointed with his decision but would like to thank him for everything that he has done for the Wigan club. His try-scoring record is impeccable and we hope that he can leave Wigan on a high at the end of the season.”
The 24-year old academy product scored memorable tries in the 2011 Challenge Cup Final and 2013 Super League Grand Final, and Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond has even compared him to Jason Robinson, who so successfully crossed codes to join Sale from Wigan in 2000.
“Josh is a great signing. Everyone I have spoken to rates him very highly,” said Diamond.
“He has explosive pace and can play either full-back or on the wing. The last big signing we made from Wigan, back in 2000, was Jason Robinson and what an impact he had.”
Charnley, who will rekindle his partnership with Sam Tomkins when the full-back returns from injury, said he would stay involved in the local community after he switches to the 15-man code.
He said: “I’ve had the most amazing times at the club, the 2013 double will live long in the memory when I look back on my career. I will forever be supporting Wigan Warriors, and stay involved in the local community as I have so many good memories, friends and family here.
Sarginson, who made a comeback earlier this season from a long injury lay-off, was also out of contract at the end of the 2016 season.
Having told Wigan Today during pre-season he had made no decision on his future, it had been speculated over the past few weeks where he would end-up, with the Wigan Observer reporting last week the Gold Coast Titans were in the frame for the 22-year-old’s signature.
On Sarginson’s departure, Lenagan said: “Having brought Dan Sarginson from London Broncos to Wigan and helped him improve as a player to the point where he played for the England national side, we are similarly disappointed that he has decided his future lies in Australia but understand the player’s view.”
The last big signing we made from Wigan, back in 2000, was Jason Robinson and what an impact he hadSale director of rugby Steve Diamond
Sarginson said: “I put my international debut heavily down to the coaching and superb service I have received while at the club. The Wigan fans have been brilliant all year round and I couldn’t have asked for more from the club.”