Sean O’Loughlin will take a coaching role with Wigan Warriors once he decides to hang up his boots.
The move was confirmed by the club as they reveal he has formally signed a new one-year deal to continue playing in 2019.
It won’t surprise Wigan fans – he revealed before England’s first Test he had agreed, but not signed, the contract amid strong interest from Leeds Rhinos.
He has now put pen to paper on a deal which will see him continue to assist the academy as a coach, working alongside new Head of Youth and his former Wigan team-mate, Mick Cassidy.
The statement does not put a date on whether O’Loughlin will retire from playing next season – but is clear he will move to a coaching role when he calls time on a his glittering career.
“Coaching is a route I have always wanted to go down so I’m also happy to have the opportunity to do so after I’ve retired,” said O’Loughlin. “As a club we are starting a new chapter with Adrian (Lam) and I’m looking forward to helping the team defend our Super League title in 2019.”
Warriors Executive Director Kris Radlinski said: “The headline news will be Sean’s one-year deal to prolong his playing career, but we are equally excited to see Sean carve out a coaching career with the Warriors as we help one of our greats prepare for life after rugby.
“Sean has made an enormous contribution in his 16-years at Wigan Warriors. On the field, he has been unbelievably consistent in setting a superb example to our younger players, constantly giving everything he has.
“Off the field, he is one of the most selfless people you’ll ever meet, always putting the team first - his integrity and leadership and have always shone through in his time here. Qualities such as these have been extremely important in establishing our culture at Wigan Warriors and Sean is the embodiment of them, so it’s very exciting to have a man of his stature and integrity working with the next crop of younger players looking to make their way through the ranks at the club, both on and off the field.”
O’Loughlin, who turns 36 next month, is currently on England duty but will miss the second Test at Anfield with a calf injury.