Scorpions option for Powell bow
Andy Powell could get his first taste of rugby league playing for Neath-based Championship One club South Wales Scorpions.
The 31-year-old former British and Irish Lions forward has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Super League leaders Wigan Warriors as a replacement for Australia-bound England prop Lee Mossop.
Powell will officially start his cross-code challenge on June 1 but, with Super League clubs having voted to scrap the reserve-grade competition, he is likely to start his career in the 13-man game with either Leigh or the Scorpions, Wigan's two partnership clubs.
Warriors coach Shaun Wane intends to give the former Wasps, Cardiff, Newport and Llanelli player time to settle into the game but does not anticipate him having any difficulty making the transition.
"I won't be rushed into getting him into the first team," said Wane. "I will spend a lot of time with him.
"Rugby union is a very complicated game but what I want from my front rowers is very simple. I want them to run hard and whack people. It's not a complicated job so it won't take as long as people think.
"And, whether it's two weeks, two months or even next year before we see the best of him, he'll get there because he's got the desire.
"The exciting thing for me is that he wanted to play rugby league. He had the choice to go to play rugby union in France or anywhere in the world and he chose our club.
"It wasn't financial, just a pure desire to play a great sport.
"It's a real shot in the arm for British rugby league and especially for Wigan Warriors."
Powell, whose contract with Sale runs out next month, has taken a pay cut to join Wigan, whose chairman Ian Lenagan is expecting the player to adjust to league in time to make his debut for Wales in the World Cup opener against Italy at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on October 26.
"It would be a big ask for him to make the transition that quickly but we believe that Wigan and Wales can help him to do that," Lenagan said.
"Our target is to make sure he plays for Wales at the Millennium if he has made the transition well enough because he'll then come back next season and play extremely well for Wigan.
"That's what we want. We want him when Lee Mossop has gone to take over as one of the prop forwards."
Wigan are thought to have secured £250,000 in transfer fees from Parramatta Eels for Mossop and his England team-mate Gareth Hock, who is on a season-long loan at Widnes Vikings but remains registered to the Warriors.
Mossop will link up with Parramatta after the World Cup and his departure will leave Wane with mixed feelings.
"I'm really excited for Lee but I'm sad because I've known him since he was a kid," Wane said.
"He lived with my mother-in-law for six years so I grew to be very close to him.
"Him leaving did get to me but it's a new experience for him to chance his arm in the NRL. Parramatta are getting a good player. He'll be a real credit to Super League."