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Tommy Leuluai: Wigan Warriors skipper to retire at 2022 Super League season’s end and become assistant coach

“It’s been an incredible journey. Back in 2003 when I made my debut, I never thought I’d be writing this 20 years later. When teammates around me retired, I often wondered how they knew it was the right time. It’s true what they say, you know when it’s time” – Leuluai

Last Updated: 31/08/22 3:50pm


Tommy Leuluai will retire at the end of the Super League season, Wigan have confirmed to Sky Sports

Wigan Warriors captain Tommy Leuluai will retire at the end of the 2022 Super League season and will become assistant coach from 2023 onwards, the club have confirmed to Sky Sports.

Kiwi Leuluai will also represent New Zealand one final time before joining their coaching team for the Rugby League World Cup in October.

The 37-year-old hooker will retire after 20 years as a rugby league professional, and is currently in his second spell with Wigan, having re-joined in 2017 from the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL.

His first spell with the Warriors saw him play for the club between 2007 and 2012, while Leuluai also featured for the London Broncos in Super League between 2005 and 2006.

Leuluai is due to return from injury and is set to feature for Wigan before the end of the season, and will become assistant coach alongside head coach Matt Peet and former team-mate and assistant coach Sean O’Loughlin.

Leuluai has already picked up two Super League titles as a Wigan player in 2010 and 2018 – winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy in the former.

Leuluai lifted the Challenge Cup this season as Wigan skipper after victory over Huddersfield at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Leuluai lifted the Challenge Cup this season as Wigan skipper after victory over Huddersfield at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

His career with the Warriors has also seen him win the League Leaders’ Shield three times (2010, 2012, 2020), the Challenge Cup twice (2011, 2022) and the World Club Challenge in 2017.

Leuluai, 37, will bring his second spell at Wigan to a close (2017-2022) after initially playing for the club between 2007 and 2012

Leuluai, 37, will bring his second spell at Wigan to a close (2017-2022) after initially playing for the club between 2007 and 2012

A New Zealand international between 2003 and 2017, Leuluai tasted Rugby League World Cup success in 2008, and picked up a Rugby League Four Nations title in 2010.

On the announcement, Leuluai said: “It’s been an incredible journey. Back in 2003 when I made my debut for the New Zealand Warriors, I never thought I’d be writing this 20 years later.

“When players and teammates around me retired, I often wondered how they knew it was the right time to do so, but I can honestly say I feel so content with my own decision and it’s true what they say, you know when it’s time.

“I look back throughout the years and I just feel incredibly grateful for everything that Rugby League has given me. There have been wonderful times on the field, and amazing times off it. I’ve loved them all but without a doubt the best thing Rugby League has given me is the friendships I have made.

“I have to give special mention to the Wigan fans that have taken me in like one of their own, you are what make this Club such a special team to play for, it has been a privilege to represent your team and your town.

Leuluai posing with the 2020 League Leaders Shield

Leuluai posing with the 2020 League Leaders Shield

“To all my teammates I can’t thank you enough – I’ve loved going to battle alongside you all. I’ve also loved all the great times we have had off the field, there are so many great memories that I will forever cherish.”

Head coach Matt Peet added: “An incredible playing career of which he and his family should be so proud. Thomas is an example to any young rugby player on how to play the game with the balance of skill, physicality and respect. Personally, I owe so much to him for the support and guidance he has given me as a player, Captain and friend and, for that, I say a massive thank you.

“Thomas has all the attributes to make an outstanding coach. He will bring so much to our coaching team and I am excited to work with him during the next stage of his career.”

Wigan chairman, Ian Lenagan said: “I am delighted to have been associated with Tommy throughout his career at London Broncos/Harlequins and at Wigan and to have watched him develop from being a talented young player to a seasoned New Zealand International and then on to being to a mature leader and Captain in his last few years at Wigan.

“I’m not sure whether he’ll be better remembered for his bone-crushing hits on big forwards or for his exquisite long pass in the 2022 Challenge Cup Final which led on directly to Wigan’s match-winning try.

“Either way, Tommy Leuluai will be long-remembered and feted by Wigan fans as a player before he even begins what I feel sure will be a highly-successful career in coaching.”



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