Sinfield to switch codes

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Published: Tuesday 31st March 2015 by The News Editor

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Leeds’ influential captain Kevin Sinfield has announced he will end his long association with the Rhinos at the end of the season and cross codes to finish his playing career with rugby union sister club Yorkshire Carnegie.

The 34-year-old former England skipper has led the Rhinos to six Super League titles, three World Club Challenges and one Challenge Cup success since making his debut for the club at the age of 16.

The Rhinos top the table after seven rounds of Super League XX but now face up to losing their two most inspirational players at the end of the campaign – Sinfield and Jamie Peacock, who last week confirmed he was taking up a management role at Hull KR.

Sinfield said: “This was one of the toughest decisions of my career but I know the time is right for me to finish my time in Rugby League and embark on a new challenge with Yorkshire Carnegie.

“I never wanted to play against the Rhinos and throughout my career I have always had an admiration for Rugby Union and wanted to challenge myself in that code. I am fortunate as a professional player in this era that opportunities like this exist for me and it is something I want to grab with both hands.

“Sir Ian McGeechan, the new board and owners of Yorkshire Carnegie have set out ambitious plans to gain promotion from the Greene King IPA Championship next season and regain their place in the Aviva Premiership and that is something that excites me.

“It is a new challenge for me and I know I will have a lot to learn however we spend a lot of time with the Carnegie players at our training ground at Kirkstall so that will help me settle in.

“My entire adult life has been spent at Leeds Rhinos and I am extremely grateful for all the support I have had over the past two decades. My goal now is to do whatever I can to make sure we have further success this year and finish the season and my Rhinos career on the best possible note.”

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “When Kevin signed his last five-year contract in 2012 it was with the understanding that he could decide to leave at the end of any season, unrestricted, provided we were notified at the start of the season so we could begin to plan for the future.

“If any player in the history of our club deserves the right to choose when he moves on to the next stage of his career it is Kevin Sinfield.

“Kevin notified me of his decision six weeks ago and I alerted the new management of Yorkshire Carnegie of his availability and desire to play Rugby Union. We are pleased he will remain at Headingley Carnegie and he has agreed a contract with Yorkshire Carnegie until June 2017 from 1st November this year.

“He has been an inspirational leader on and off the field for Leeds Rhinos over the last decade and I think there can be little argument that the success we have enjoyed would not have been possible without him.

“Kevin was contracted for next season with the club and had always insisted that his Rhinos career would not go beyond that point. The fact that date has been brought forward 12 months may be a shock to some but we are happy to agree to his wishes and allow him to set a new challenge for himself with Yorkshire Carnegie.”

Yorkshire Carnegie executive president Sir Ian McGeechan said: “I have admired Kevin Sinfield as both a player and an individual for many years. His professionalism, attitude and commitment are top class. I am sure he will be a great addition to our squad for next season and his goal kicking record speaks for itself.

“The signing of Kevin Sinfield and the recent appointment of Bryan Redpath as head coach are clear indications of the ambition of our new management and owners. We look forward to having Kevin on board from November for our challenge to regain our place in the Aviva Premiership.”

Published: Tuesday 31st March 2015 by The News Editor

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