Ryan Hampshire discusses Castleford exit after surprise Wigan return

Josh McAllister
Ryan Hampshire. PA

Ryan Hampshire admits he didn’t even have time to tell his Castleford team-mates that he was joining Wigan before his signing had been announced on Friday morning.

Hampshire, 28, suffered a season-ending ACL injury last June, and had been undergoing his rehab with the Yorkshire outfit throughout pre-season, although remained without a contract for 2023.

Tigers boss Lee Radford previously sounded keen to retain the outside-back, but admitted salary cap space dictated his recruitment plans.

Instead, Hampshire was contacted by Wigan boss Matt Peet about a return to the DW Stadium, having left the club back in 2016. 

“It’s come around quick, probably in the last 12 to 18 hours it got sorted and then I came straight into it,” Hampshire told Love Rugby League.

“The club contacted me and we had some meetings in the last three weeks. 

“I was training at Castleford literally yesterday. I’ve been asking for a contract with Castleford since July and nothing came about properly. 

“I rang Lee Radford yesterday when it all got done at Wigan and he said he was happy for me. I had a really good relationship with him. 

“He made my time at Castleford really enjoyable.

“I didn’t have any time off in off-season, I was straight through. It was hard turning up some days not knowing where you’re going to end up.

“I kept turning up and working hard and the opportunity came up to come back.”

Ryan Hampshire “loved” his time at Castleford

Hampshire was limited to just five appearances with Castleford, first breaking his hand in a reserves game just days after signing before sustaining the long-term blow against Catalans.

But despite his injury-hit stint, Hampshire reflected on Castleford with fond memories.

“I signed at Castleford on the Wednesday and broke my hand on the Sunday,” he said. “I played five games then picked up the injury.

“But I loved my time at Castleford. I loved all the players and staff and I can’t speak highly enough of the club.”

As a youngster, Hampshire progressed through Wigan’s academy, playing under now first team boss Peet in the Warriors system.

Eyeing up a return to full training in April following his injury, the full-back or half-back says he is looking forward to reuniting with coach Peet once more. 

“He was my academy coach and I’ve had a good relationship with him since. I think it would be a good story to come back here and win something with him.”

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