Controversial Wales rugby union international Andy Powell has switched codes to join Wigan Warriors on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
The Sale Sharks forward, with 23 Welsh caps, was a member of the British and Irish Lions tour party to South Africa in 2009 and could become a dual-code international in October’s rugby league World Cup.
Despite offers from other rugby league clubs, including from the NRL, Powell admits he would not have gone elsewhere.
“Wigan is such a big club and I know what the shirt means to people – I can’t wait for that challenge,” said Powell.
“I’ve always wanted to do it and for Wigan to come in was huge. It’s the biggest club going and you don’t turn that offer down.
“I can’t wait to get that shirt on.”
Powell moves in the opposite direction to the trend of recent years of players switching from league to union and acknowledges he will have to work hard on overcoming the differences in the two sports.
“It’s a big crossover but it will suit the way I run with the ball and tackle,” he said.
“It’s more the technical side such as grappling and getting the player to the floor. I’ve watched enough of it so I should pick it up pretty quick.
“It will take as long as it takes but maybe the end of June, July.
“It’s a big challenge for me to switch codes and it’s a competitive squad but I think that brings the best out of the individual.
“I think for me now it’s just trying to get in that first team for Wigan, but if it happens, it’s great, but for me now it’s just getting my head down and trying to get into that team.”
Powell left London Wasps in 2011 by mutual consent after a drunken brawl and was arrested for driving a golf buggy on the M4 after Wales’ Six Nations win over Scotland in 2010, but he insisted those days are behind him.
“Everybody has a past. Nobody’s an angel at the end of the day but it’s done and dusted now,” Powell added.
“Everybody grows up and everybody does stupid things. We’ve all done things in the past and it’s time to forget about those.”
He will wear squad number 38 when he features for the Warriors and confirmed he will be taking a pay cut to play league but is drawn to the style of the game.
“Yeah I have (taken a pay cut). It’s not about the money. For me it’s about the challenge, that’s the biggest part,” said Powell.
“Shaun Wane is a real down-to-earth bloke, his morals are right and he likes to take it into the game.
“I’ve been one of those players to run into brick walls, which is what I’ll do here and I can use my feet as well.”
Image courtesy of Puma, via YouTube, with thanks