The Rugby Football League adds a tribute to Sean O’Loughlin for his outstanding contribution for Great Britain and England, following the confirmation from Wigan that he will be retiring at the end of the 2020 Betfred Super League season.
O’Loughlin won a total of 36 international caps – 11 for Great Britain between 2004-7, and 25 for England from 2009-18 (14 as captain).
He enjoyed two victories over Australia in those early GB caps, on home soil in Wigan in 2004 on his Test debut, and in Sydney two years later; he played in the England team who reached the semi final of the 2013 World Cup; and was captain of the 2017 team who reached the Final, only to be ruled out of the decider against Australia by injury.
Shaun Wane, the England Head Coach, was also O’Loughlin’s Head Coach at Wigan from 2012-18, when they shared three Grand Final wins at Old Trafford, one Challenge Cup triumph at Wembley, and victory in the 2017 World Club Challenge.
“Sean O’Loughlin is the most special player I’ve ever coached,” said Wane. “I’ve coached great players, but he’s the stand-out.
“Everything I’ve won in my career has been with Lockers by my side – and I don’t think I’d have won as much if he hadn’t been there.
“And as good as he’s been a player, he’s an even better man. You couldn’t meet anyone more genuine, or more humble.
“What he’s done for Wigan has been outstanding, and I know he’s also been proud and honoured to represent his country, whether England or Great Britain.
“I feel personally wounded for him that his career is ending without a crowd to salute him. He deserves that – but it won’t take away from all he’s achieved.”
Ralph Rimmer, the RFL Chief Executive, added:
“Sean O’Loughlin has been an outstanding player for Wigan, England and Great Britain, and also an outstanding ambassador for the sport of Rugby League.
“He has integrity running right through him, and a genuine commitment to the grassroots of the sport, and I know Kevin Sinfield highly valued his support as we established the England Performance Unit after the 2017 World Cup.
“With James Graham having also confirmed that he will be retiring at the end of the Betfred Super League season, we will be witnessing the last performances of two giants of the modern game.”