Joel Tomkins announces immediate retirement

Steven Hughes
Joel Tomkins

Former Wigan, Hull KR and Catalans forward Joel Tomkins has announced his immediate retirement from the game at the age of 34.

Tomkins was due to take up a contract with Leigh for the 2022 season, but has informed the club he will not be taking up his contract.

He had two spells with Wigan in all, making 237 appearances for the club, scoring 64 tries. In the middle of those spells, Tomkins also played rugby union for Saracens for three years.

After leaving Wigan for the second time, Tomkins spent 18 months in East Yorkshire with Hull KR. He made 35 appearances, scoring six tries.

Ahead of the 2020 season, Tomkins moved to the south of France to sign with Catalans. After missing the start of the 2021 season through suspension, Tomkins was part of the side that won the League Leaders Shield. He also played in the Super League Grand Final, although the Dragons were beaten by St Helens.

Why it was the right time for Tomkins

Speaking to Leigh’s club website, Tomkins said:“Professional Rugby has been a priority in my life for the last 17 years and now, at 34, it feels right to retire.

“It has been a great way to earn a living and I have some great memories and have made some great friends at the few different clubs I have represented over the years.

“I’ve also had some low points and experienced both good and bad sides of being a professional sportsman in the public eye.

“I’ve learned from my mistakes over the years and I’m happy with the person I am today, closing this chapter of my life and moving on to the next.

“I’m proud of what I have achieved and happy to retire on my own terms. I now look forward to exploring other opportunities and being the best person I can be.

“I’d like to thank Leigh Centurions for their understanding of my situation and wish them every success for the future. I wanted to do the right thing by the club, and they respect that.

“I’d like to also thank all the clubs I’ve played for during my career and all the people, especially my family, who have supported me along the way.”

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