Wigan quiet over Thomas link
Wigan Warriors are refusing to comment on speculation linking the Carnegie Challenge Cup winners with a shock move for veteran Welsh three-quarter Gareth Thomas.
The 37-year-old former British Lions captain is a free agent following Crusaders RL’s withdrawal from Engage Super League and is reported to have agreed a 12-month contract with the Warriors, who are expected to appoint Thomas’ current club and national coach Iestyn Harris as their assistant for next season.
Both Wigan chairman Ian Lenaghan and Thomas’ manager Emanuele Paladino issued “no comment” responses to queries, while Warriors coach Michael Maguire expressed ignorance on the subject at today’s press conference.
Maguire, who is returning to Australia at the end of the season, said: “I’ve no idea about that.”
Thomas, who switched codes 18 months ago, is currently sidelined with a broken arm but is hoping to play for Wales in the Four Nations Series.
Lenagan said today he anticipated an announcement on Maguire’s successor to be made before the end of the season. Former Wigan prop Shaun Wane is expected to be promoted from the role of assistant, with Harris taking over as number two.
Meanwhile, winger Josh Charnley has undergone surgery on the finger he broke and dislocated in the first minute of the Challenge Cup final at Wembley and may play in Sunday’s penultimate game of the regular season at second-placed Warrington Wolves.
Maguire has also not ruled out second rower Lee Mossop, who dislocated a shoulder in the first half of Wigan’s 28-18 win over Leeds Rhinos but went back on after having it put back in the socket.
“Josh had an operation on his finger and came through pretty well hopefully,” said Maguire.
“We’ll assess Lee at the back end of the week. We’ll do a bit of contact work with him on Saturday.
“We’re hopeful on both but I’m pretty lucky with the people sitting on the sidelines, with the likes of Gareth Hock, Daz Goulding, Amos Roberts and Chris Tuson.
“I’m looking forward to giving people opportunities. It’s another tough decision but we always pick on performance.”
Maguire confirmed that full-back Sam Tomkins will play despite the furore that erupted over his two-fingered salute to Leeds fans at Wembley.
Tomkins issued an apology for his “heat-of-the-moment” action and was given a suspended fine and warning by the Rugby Football League, as well as being censured by his club, and Maguire now considers the matter closed.
“He’s moved on,” he said. “Credit to Sam, he’s the one who came forward and apologised.
“I’m really looking forward to Sam just getting back to his rugby league and playing the way he can. England have got one helluva player there.”