'˜It will be good to call Catalans home'

Sam Tomkins' move to Catalans has been confirmed.
Sam Tomkins will play for Catalans next seasonSam Tomkins will play for Catalans next season
Sam Tomkins will play for Catalans next season

The Dragons have announced his widely-expected capture from 2019 on a three-year deal, with the option of a fourth.

He previously worked with coach Steve McNamara at England level and the move will reunite him with his former Wigan team-mates Micky McIlorum and Lewis Tierney.

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In the statement, Tomkins said: “I’m really looking forward to the next chapter of my career at the Dragons. I have always enjoyed playing at the Gilbert Brutus Stadium and it will be good to call it home.

“After speaking with Catalans, it was clear the club has big ambitions for the future and I want to be part of that.

“I have worked with Steve for five years at international level and I am looking forward to working with him again. I have good friends already playing at the club in Micky and Lewis and they speak very highly of the club, players and staff so I know I’m in good hands.”

McNamara hailed the capture of the 29-year-old.

In signing Sam, we have acquired an outstanding leader, decision maker and fierce competitor,” he said. “His desire to join the Catalans Dragons and to be part of our future ambitions was very impressive from the outset. He has and continues to excel at every level of our sport, he is a proven winner with an incredible work ethic and will have a huge influence over both our team and club.”

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Dragons CEO Christophe Jouffret added: “The club is moving forward and in signing one of the best player in the Super League history, we are making a statement of intent. His desire to join our club has found an echo in our wish to add to our squad a new outstanding and talented player.”

The development comes hours after Warriors issued an early-morning press release announcing Tomkins would be leaving at the end of this season.

Warriors executive director, Kris Radlinski, said the club did offer the 29-year-old a new four-year deal but he turned it down.

Wigan had previously decided against taking up the one-year option on his contract, which was in the club’s favour.

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“This new deal was still one of the top three contracts that the club has offered anyone in the past 10 years,” said Radlinski.

“Sam subsequently told us that the opportunity for him and his family to experience a different culture and lifestyle and to see his kids speaking another language was something that really appealed to him. He also said he wasn’t expecting the Wigan offer to be as good as it was and that had made the decision even more difficult.

“In situations like this, there is nothing that the club can do other than be generous, fair and wish the player well.”

Radlinski went on to accuse Catalans of making an illegal approach.

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He added: “It came as a surprise to us that another club had engaged with Sam so early in the year when the deadline for approaching a player under contract is at the end of April. We have made our feelings known about this to the club involved.”