ENGLAND international John Bateman has confirmed he that will leave Wigan at the end of the season to join the NRL.

The centre or second-rower has exercised an opt-out clause in his Warriors contract that enables him to make the move for 2019 and, although his destination has not been revealed, he is expected to join current team-mate Ryan Sutton at Canberra.

Wigan say they will received an undisclosed transfer fee for the former Bradford Bulls player, who has also agreed a three-year deal deal to become their marquee player when he returns to Super League at the end of his stint in Australia.

Bateman, 24, who joined Wigan from the Bulls five years ago, said: "This has been an incredibly tough decision for me to make as I have enjoyed my time at Wigan so much.

"But ultimately I have always had the desire to play in the NRL at some point in my career, so this opportunity is something I didn't want to turn down.

"Wigan did all they could, in my opinion, to keep me here but I was always up front with them regarding my motivation to play in a different competition.

"Although I'm sad to be leaving the Warriors, it's great to know I'll be returning here."

The departure of Bateman, who has established himself in the England side since leaving the Bulls, continues the major upheaval at Wigan, who will also bid farewell to head coach Shaun Wane and England full back Sam Tomkins at the end of the season.

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan said: "John was adamant that he wanted to try his hand in the NRL, and once it became clear to us that he couldn't be persuaded, we wanted to ensure that the club gained the best deal in these set of circumstances.

"I believe we have done so. Despite John's experience, he is still only 24 and throughout our discussions he has made it clear to us that he is determined to return to Wigan in the future.

"He will do so as a better player then, entering the peak years of his career, so we will look forward to welcoming him back to the club."

Wigan rugby executive Kris Radlinski is confident the club have enough second-row resources to offset the loss of Bateman.

"With the recent signing of Joe Greenwood from the NRL to add to Liam Farrell and Willie Isa, coupled with promising youngsters such as Liam Paisley coming through the ranks, we still have plenty of quality in our second-row department that we can call upon," Radlinksi said.

Bateman will be in good company in the NRL and in particular at Canberra, where his close friend and former Bulls team-mate Elliott Whitehead plays.

Shaun Edwards is to return to Wigan as their new head coach but not until after the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup.

Former Bulls player Edwards, 51, the most decorated player in rugby league history, will link up with the Warriors at the end of his current contract with Wales RU and will take up a three-year deal from 2020.

Wigan have also appointed another former favourite, Adrian Lam, 47, as interim head coach for the 2019 season.

The pair will replace Shaun Wane, who is leaving Wigan at the end of the season to become the high performance coach for the Scottish Rugby Union.

Edwards, who has spent the last 17 years in rugby union, won 37 trophies during a glittering career with his home-town club, including a record nine Challenge Cup triumphs.

"Shaun Edwards is a legendary figure in both codes of rugby as a supremely gifted player and as a highly successful coach," Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan said.

"He is an inspirational figure, a born leader and a winner at everything he has turned his attention to.

"He also has Wigan Rugby League Club in his blood. We're delighted to have been able to bring Shaun back to the club which he represented with such distinction."

Edwards was at the heart of Wigan's historic Challenge Cup run in which they won eight back-to-back Wembley titles, and was named Man of Steel in 1990.

He won 36 caps for Great Britain and, after leaving Wigan in 1997, had brief spells at the Bulls and London Broncos before retiring in 2000.

Edwards switched codes 12 months later, joining Wasps as defence and backs coach and taking over as head coach in 2005. He guided Wasps to a hat-trick of domestic titles and the Heineken Cup in 2004 and 2007.

Edwards left Wasps in 2011 to join the Wales coaching team and helped the nation to Grand Slam success in 2008 and 2012 as well the RBS Six Nations title in 2013.

He was defence coach for the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa in 2009.

WRU chairman Gareth Davies said: "We would like to congratulate Shaun on his appointment at Wigan Warriors.

"He is a rugby league legend and particularly so at Wigan and we know he will be welcomed back there with open arms.

"Shaun has and continues to be a great servant to Welsh Rugby. He has been part of a hugely successful coaching team over the past 10 years and we would like to thank him for all of his efforts.

"From a Wales perspective, entering a crucial Rugby World Cup year it is great that Shaun has committed to seeing out his contract with the WRU and to continue to help lead Wales into the RWC."

While Wigan wait for Edwards to honour his commitments with Wales, the appointment of Lam will also be warmly welcomed by fans.

The Papua New Guinea international became favourite during a three-year spell at the DW Stadium, where he played a key role in Wigan's 2002 Challenge Cup win at Murrayfield.

Lam cut his coaching teeth in Wigan with the academy before relocating back to Australia where he assisted England coach Wayne Bennett at St George Illawarra and also coached the PNG national team.

Recently, Lam has been part of the coaching staff at the Sydney Roosters and has been a part of Mal Meninga's Kangaroos backroom team.

Lenagan said: "We're extremely fortunate to have a man of Adrian's calibre to come into the head-coach role on an interim basis for the 2019 season.

"Adrian won the hearts and minds of every Wigan fan during his time here as a player and he's coming to Wigan as one of Australia's brightest and most respected coaches.

"He's a great addition – one that myself, Kris Radlinski and Shaun Edwards are extremely enthused about.

"We all feel Adrian will have significant impact on the Wigan team before returning to Australia with the additional experience to be capable of taking up a head-coach role there."