Powell arrives on busy day for Warriors
Wigan Warriors have confirmed the signing of Wales and British Lions forward Andy Powell.
The 31-year-old Sale Sharks player was unveiled by the Warriors at a press conference at the DW Stadium, where the club also confirmed that England forwards Lee Mossop and Gareth Hock will join Australian club Parramatta from 2014.
Powell will take up a two-and-a-half-year contract in May while Hock, who is on a season-long loan at Widnes Vikings, and Mossop have signed two-year contracts with the Eels, with an option for a further season down under.
Wigan say they have secured six-figure transfer fees for both Hock and Mossop as well as a first option to re-sign them if and when they return to England.
Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan also announced that in-form second rower Liam Farrell has signed a new five-year contract and that former St Helens scrum-half Sean Long will join the club's backroom staff following his resignation as assistant coach at Salford City Reds.
“Although Lee Mossop had 18 months left on his contract, we are delighted to allow him the opportunity to play in the NRL, knowing that it will make him a better player," Lenagan said.
“We believe we have the perfect replacement in Andy Powell. We are delighted that Andy is taking up the challenge in exactly the same way that Scott Quinnell did in the past.
“We think Andy Powell is exactly right for rugby league.”
Powell, who toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009 and won the last of his 23 caps for Wales in February 2012, is the highest-profile convert from union to league since Gareth Thomas joined Crusaders RL in 2010.
“I am thrilled to be given this chance and, with the help of the Wigan coaching staff, I am looking forward to being able to make the transition between the codes," Powell said.
“This is a huge new chapter in my rugby career and I can't wait to get started.”
Mossop, a key figure in England coach Steve McNamara's World Cup plans, told today's news conference that he has been planning a move to Australia for some time and revealed his intention to return to play for Wigan in the future.
“It's a strategy that's been in place for some time,” Mossop said. “I sat down with Ian two or three years ago and spoke about this.
“I said when I signed my latest contract that it was something I'd like to do and I'm lucky enough to have a coach and a chairman who are willing to allow me to take on this challenge.
“If I'm dead honest, I don't think I would have done it if there wasn't an option to come back to Wigan. I love the players and I love the place.”