Welsh Rugby
Andy Powell completes Wigan switch
ESPN Staff
April 23, 2013
Sale's Andy Powell soaks up a tackle from Quins' Ben Botica, Sale Sharks v Harlequins, LV= Anglo-Welsh Cup Final, Sixways, Worcester, England, March 17, 2013
Andy Powell has played some of his best rugby for Sale this season © Getty Images

Former Wales No.8 Andy Powell has completed his cross-code move to rugby league and has signed a three-year deal with the Wigan Warriors.

Powell has impressed for Sale this season and had previously said he was hopeful of securing a new deal with the Sharks. But he has opted to take up a contract with Wigan and will follow in the footsteps of ex-Wales international Gareth Thomas in playing the 13-man format of the game.

Powell could now turn out in the Rugby League World Cup which takes place later this year in the UK. Rumours of the move have been in the pipeline since early April and he has been in the sights of league in the past with the now defunct Celtic Crusaders previously showing interest.

But the announcement of his move to league brings an end to his union career which saw him win 23 caps for Wales and also tour with the British & Irish Lions in 2009. Powell will link up with Wigan on June 1 and he is relishing the chance to run out for the Warriors.

"I have always thought that a move to rugby league could be an option for me at some point in my career and when I learned of Wigan Warriors interest I was excited about the chance to make the switch. Wigan Warriors are the biggest name in rugby league; they also have a rich history of Welsh connections over the years and are a huge name in the principality.

"I am thrilled to be given this chance and with the help of the Wigan Warriors coaching staff, I am looking forward to being able to make the transition between codes. This is a huge new chapter in my rugby career and I can't wait to get started."

And Wigan owner Ian Lenagan is hopeful Powell's move may signal a change in the fortunes of league losing their best players to union. He said: "The trend in recent years has been for top rugby league players to make the move in the opposite direction and the signing of Andy is a marquee moment for the sport.

"Rugby league is a magnificent game of great attraction to rugby union players for its speed and open try-scoring style. The addition of Andy to the Wigan squad is of great interest to players, fans and press alike and we all look forward to seeing him in the famous Cherry-and-White shirt in the next few months."

Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane added: "Andy will add strength and power to our forward line. He has excellent ball-handling skills and we are all looking forward to him joining us. His rugby experience both at club and International level in union is second to none and I am certain he will be also a huge success with Wigan and in Super League."

© Getty Images
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