Kevin Sinfield is to hang up his boots at the end of his one and only rugby union season with Yorkshire Carnegie in the Greene King IPA Championship.
While he is finishing his career a rugby union player, he’ll always be remembered as one of the best to play rugby league, within the super league era. Yesterday, in his retirement press conference he admitted that he feels “lucky” to retire on his own terms.
The former Leeds and England rugby league captain, who turns 36 in September, switched codes with the Rhinos’ sister club Yorkshire Carnegie last November and had another 12 months left on his contract.
However, Sinfield has decided that the time is right to call time on his career saying, “I have been privileged and deeply honoured to have enjoyed a 20-year career as a professional rugby player and to retire on my own terms rather than through injury is something I feel lucky to be able to do.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the last seven months with Yorkshire Carnegie and I would like to thank the coaches, players and supporters for making me feel so welcome. I have always given total commitment to every team I have ever played in and, therefore, I have decided to hang up my boots at the end of this season.”
“A number of opportunities have become available to me for life after rugby and I need to make the right decision for me and my family.”
“However, before then we have got hopefully four massive games ahead of us, starting this Sunday against a very good Doncaster side at Headingley Carnegie.”
Yorkshire Carnegie head coach Bryan Redpath spoke about the impact that Sinfield has had in the year he’s been there. He said: “It has been great to have Kevin involved in our squad this season, especially for the large number of young players we have in our group.”
“He is a total professional and the example he sets is something that all young players can aspire to. He has had an incredible career in rugby league and it has been great for us to have him finish his career as a Yorkshire Carnegie player.”
“He is a natural winner and that attitude and drive will be more important than ever for us as we head into the play-offs looking to book our return to the Aviva Premiership.”
It shows the sheer quality of the man when after only 14 games in rugby union is he the leading scorer at Carnegie with 177 points, and has helped the team reach the final of the B&I Cup and a third-place finish in the Greene King IPA Championship.
I’ve grown up watching Sinfield play and watched how he became Leeds’ best player and captain. Leeds have been blessed with some great players and squads over the years, but when you look at everything they’ve won in the super league era, Sinfield was right there at the centre of it all.
In his quite remarkable 19-season professional career within rugby league, Sinfield led Leeds to seven Grand Final victories, back-to-back Challenge Cup triumphs and three World Club Challenge successes.
Sinfield joined the Rhinos in 1996 and made his debut while aged only 16 against Sheffield at Headingley in 1997. In 2004, a year after being appointed captain by then coach Daryl Powell, he led the side to their first ever Grand Final victory and the first league title in 32 years. This was to be the start of something special at Leeds Rhinos.
A year later, he lifted the World title as well as appearing in another Cup and Grand Final, winning the Lance Todd trophy in the Cardiff Cup Final defeat to Hull FC.
Sinfield finished his Leeds career with a total of 3,967 points from 521 appearances He also had a fantastic international career as he won 40 caps for England and Great Britain, captaining his country in the 2013 World Cup. His all time career total of 4,231 points from 569 matches, put him third in the all-time list, behind Neil Fox and Jim Sullivan.
Sinfield won the 2012 Golden Boot, the award for the world’s best rugby league player and still remains England’s highest points scorer and currently holds the Super League records for most appearances, goals and points. These remarkable records highlight the class, quality and sheer leadership of the man.
He was rewarded for all his contributions to rugby league and Leeds Rhinos in 2014 when is was awarded an MBE in the 2014 Queens’ Birthday Honours. In 2015, after finishing his rugby league career in the best way possible, a treble winner, winning the Super League, League Leaders Shield and the Challenge Cup. He ended the year as runner-up to Andy Murray in the BBC Sports Personality Awards.
Kevin Sinfield: Third highest points scorer in rugby league history, runner-up in the 2015 Sports Personality of the year, awarded MBE in 2014, 2012 Golden Boot winner, leading points scorer in Leeds rugby league history, Leeds’ most successful ever captain, captained the club to their first ever treble in 2015, won the Harry Sunderland Trophy twice, Super League dream team member 4 times, 7 Super League Titles, 3 World Club Challenge Trophies, 3 League Leaders Shield’s, 2 Challenge Cup’s, 521 appearances for Leeds Rhinos, 27 appearances for England, 14 tests for Great Britain, 4 games for Lancashire, 3,968 career points and 1, 832 career goals.
One man, one career, one Legend.