Wigan winger Josh Charnley to join Sale Sharks in cross-code switch
Josh Charnley will switch codes at the end of the season when he leaves rugby league side Wigan Warriors to join Premiership rugby union club Sale Sharks.
The 24-year-old has played 152 times for Wigan, scoring 148 tries and kicking 94 goals since making his first-team debut in 2010, helping the club win two Super League Grand Finals and two Challenge Cups while finishing as the top try-scorer in Super League in both 2012 and 2013.
Wigan offered Charnley a new contract but he will take on a new challenge in rugby union.
In a statement released via Wigan, the England international said: "Since joining the club seven years ago, the team and the fans have been like a second family to me. Shaun Wane has been an amazing coach, mentor and friend and I thank him and all the players for the past seven years.
"I've had the most amazing times at the club, the 2013 double will live long in the memory when I look back on my career. I will forever be supporting Wigan Warriors, and stay involved in the local community as I have so many good memories, friends and family here."
Charnley will now hope to follow in the footsteps of Jason Robinson, who swapped Wigan for Sale when he switched codes in 2000, going on to play 159 times for the Sharks while earning 51 England caps.
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond said: "Josh is a great signing for us. He was schooled in the famous Wigan Academy and everyone I have spoken to rates him very highly. He has explosive pace and can play either full-back or on the wing.
"The last big signing we made from Wigan back in 2000 was Jason Robinson and what impact he had. I am sure Josh will fit in perfectly with us at Sale Sharks and look forward to him joining us in the autumn."
Wigan coach Wane said he was sorry to see Charnley go.
"After seven years in Super League and in the Wigan first team, Josh has decided that he wants to do something different and we respect that.
"Having been involved with the Wigan Warriors first team since Josh made his debut in 2010 it is with a heavy heart that I will see him leave. Josh has made the difficult switch of wings look seamless this season and has been in good form after a full pre-season."
Wigan also announced that Dan Sarginson, 22, will leave at the end of the season to join Gold Coast Titans in the NRL.
"Dan has improved greatly during his time at Wigan and we don't think we've seen the best of him yet. We're sad to see him leave."