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Tomkins signs for Leigh

Leigh Centurions have confirmed the signing of dual code international Joel Tomkins on a one-year contract for the 2022 season.

Tomkins, 34, is currently with the Catalans Dragons side challenging for honours in the Betfred Super League, playing alongside younger brother Sam in his second season in the south of France.

With experience of over 250 Super League games since making his Wigan debut as an 18-year-old in 2005, Tomkins also spent three years in rugby union with Saracens, earning international honours for England in the 15-a-side code.

Leigh Centurions interim head coach Kurt Haggerty said: The signing of Joel is a statement of intent from the club. He’s a proven winner and is still playing at the highest level in Super League.

“Joel brings experience, a winning mentality and leadership qualities. This is a brilliant signing for the club.”

Speaking from his home in Perpignan Tomkins says he is excited about the move back to England, but first of all has unfinished business with the Dragons.

“It will be with a heavy heart when I leave Catalans,” he said. “I’ve built up some great relationships over here and I owe a lot to the coach, Steve McNamara and owner Bernard Guasch.

“Steve was the main reason I signed after leaving Hull KR. He is one of the genuine good guys and though he was keen for me to stay I explained my reasons for leaving and he was very supportive.

“Bernard understands my reasons and that I’m looking forward to a different challenge. Soon after I joined, the pandemic hit and the club has faced tough financial challenges. Bernard has led from the front and always puts others before himself, and whatever the problems he always keeps a smile on his face.

“Covid turned everything upside down and the lockdowns made it tough for the players and their families over here, while the kids missed out on a lot of schooling. But through the adversity the Catalans club has achieved a lot and the challenges we’ve faced have definitely brought us together a lot closer as a group and galvanised the team and the club. I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can achieve for the rest of the season.”

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