When England take to the field down under in the Four Nations series this Autumn it’ll be without captain Kevin Sinfield, after the Leeds Rhinos star has announced his retirement from international rugby league.
Sinfield made 26 appearances for England in total, with his debut coming 14 years ago in the 2000 World Cup. His last game for England came in last year’s narrow 20-18 semi-final defeat to New Zealand. He also played 14 times for Great Britain.
Sinfield, 33, became England captain in 2012 after the international retirement of his Leeds team mate Jamie Peacock. He has cited prolonging his club career as the reason for his decision and is looking to secure the lucrative double with the Rhinos as the Super League reaches its climax.
Sinfield said about his retirement: “This is a decision I have taken a great deal of time over and it has been the toughest of my professional career. I have always loved playing for my country, whether for England or Great Britain, and it has been a privilege and honour to lead my country for the last two seasons. I will cherish my memories of international rugby, they have helped shape me into the player I am today and it has always been special to pull on the England or Great Britain shirt.”
England head coach Steve McNamara has paid tribute to Sinfield’s international career.
He said: “Kevin is the ultimate rugby league professional and it has been a privilege to work with him in the last few years, when his attitude, application and enthusiasm have rubbed off on everybody. His contribution and commitment to the England programme has been exemplary.”
McNamara now faces a tough decision to select a new captain for his England side. Wigan’s Sean O’Loughlin is an obvious choice, although McNamara could opt for NRL based players Sam Tomkins or James Graham.
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