Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Wigan to announce Powell signing

Andy Powell is expected to join rugby league side Wigan

Wigan are poised to announce the capture of Wales rugby union international Andy Powell.

The Warriors have called what they say is "an important press conference" for 11am on Tuesday at the DW Stadium where chairman Ian Lenagan is expected to confirm the signing of Powell, as well as the departure of England forwards Gareth Hock and Lee Mossop.

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond revealed earlier this month that Powell had rejected a new offer from them in order to join Wigan on a three-year contract.

The 31-year-old 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, would become the highest-profile convert from union to league since Gareth Thomas joined Crusaders in 2010.

The recruitment of Powell, who was close to joining Thomas at Crusaders until the club cut back on spending, would also be a huge boost for Wales ahead of the World Cup. At Wigan he would be working under Wales head coach Iestyn Harris, who is the right-hand man to Warriors boss Shaun Wane.

Lenagan has consistently declined to comment on the speculation but has made no secret of his desire to sign players from rugby union and expressed his delight over the form of threequarter Iain Thornley since he returned from a spell with Sale.

Parramatta have been on the trail of Hock for 12 months and agreed personal terms with the 29-year-old last summer only to see the proposed transfer collapse at the last minute.

They maintained their interest in the hard-running second-rower and followed it up with a move for 24-year-old prop forward Mossop, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame over the last two years and is firmly part of England coach Steve McNamara's World Cup plans.

According to reports in Australia, Eels recruitment manager Peter Nolan flew to England earlier this month to watch Mossop make his comeback from a dislocated shoulder in Wigan's 36-6 win at Bradford and negotiate a transfer fee with Lenagan for both men.

Mossop has 18 months left on his contract but is known to be keen to try his hand in the NRL, where his England team-mates Sam Burgess and James Graham have enjoyed instant success. Hock fell into dispute with his home-town club following the collapse of his move to Parramatta and joined Widnes on a season-long loan, with Wigan retaining his registration.

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