Sam Tomkins to join New Zealand Warriors from Wigan Warriors for world record fee
Last Updated: 24/09/13 11:12am
Sam Tomkins: Wigan star moving to the NRL
Wigan and England star Sam Tomkins will become the most expensive player in rugby league history when he joins New Zealand Warriors at the end of the season.
Tomkins' move to the NRL was widely expected, and Wigan confirmed the news at a press conference on Monday.
Wigan will receive a world record transfer fee for the reigning Man of Steel - more than the £450,000 they themselves paid Bradford for Stuart Fielden in 2007.
Although the amount has not been confirmed, it is reportedly in the region of £700,000.
And as part of the agreement, Wigan have secured an option to re-sign Tomkins after his spell in Auckland.
Record breaker Tomkins
Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan said: "While we are reluctant to let Sam go, he goes with our blessing."
Wigan have signed North Queensland Cowboys full-back Matty Bowen as a straight replacement on a 12-month contract, with an option for a second season.
"As we lose one special full-back, we bring in another special full-back," Lenagan said of Bowen. "He's a superb man in terms of helping young players develop."
Tomkins said: "It is something in my career I have always wanted to do and this agreement with the Warriors also allows me to return to Wigan in the future.
"The Wigan club have been fantastic to me from day one. I owe them a huge thank you for all they have done and I head to New Zealand with some great memories of Grand Final and Challenge Cup success and some very special times.
"Going to Auckland is a huge step for me and my rugby league career but one I am really looking forward to. Before that, though, I want to end my time with further success with Wigan as we aim for Grand-Final glory and then with England as we focus on winning the World Cup on home soil."
Wigan coach Shaun Wane admits he initially tried to persuade Tomkins to stay.
"I'm a realist," Wane added. "I don't look at Sam as a rugby player, I look at him as a person and I want him to have a good life.
"He wants to try that competition and it will make him financially more secure. The positive thing for me is that he wants to come back.
"New Zealand Warriors have got a great player and a real good guy off the field. He's very honest and forthright with his views. He'll drive the culture over there and they will benefit from having Sam Tomkins in their team."