Sinfield to leave Rhinos at end of 2015
Kevin Sinfield MBE, Leeds Rhinos greatest ever captain, will leave the club at the end of the 2015 season to finish his career playing Rugby Union with sister club Yorkshire Carnegie having agreed an 18 month contract with Bryan Redpath’s side.
Sinfield, 34, is on the brink of becoming only the fourth player in Leeds’ history to play 500 games for the club and is the all time leading goal and points scorer in the club’s history. He is currently fourth in the all time list of Rugby League points scorers and has led the Rhinos to 12 titles in 19 Finals so far having been made captain in 2003 when he was just 22. He has made 26 appearances for England, including captaining his country at the 2013 World Cup, and has made a further 14 appearances for Great Britain.
Commenting on the decision 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,” added Sinfield.
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington added, “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 play 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 twelve 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,” added Hetherington.
Yorkshire Carnegie Executive President Sir Ian McGeechan commented, “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.”
Yorkshire Carnegie Rugby Union club play in the second tier of English club rugby, the Greene King IPA Championship. They are currently sixth in the table, six points off a play off place with three games, and a maximum of fifteen points, to play for. Ownership of the former club Leeds Carnegie was transferred from Leeds CF&A Co Ltd, to a group of new owners on 23rd December 2014, called Yorkshire Tykes Ltd. That company now wholly owns Yorkshire Carnegie and has a ten year service agreement with Leeds CF&A Co Ltd for the use of Headingley Carnegie Stadium, the Leeds Rugby Academy at Kirkstall and certain management services such as retail, ticketing, marketing, medical and commercial revenue generation.