Rhinos pay tribute to former captain
Leeds Rhinos have paid tribute to former captain Stevie Ward, who has announced his retirement from the sport aged just 27.
Ward played only one game last season for the Rhinos as he dealt with concussion symptoms. He was out of contract with Leeds during the close season and has now taken the difficult decision to retire.
Ward made his Leeds debut as a teenager back in 2012, featuring in a Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in his first season. He was part of the Leeds team that won the Grand Final that year. He won the Challenge Cup in 2015, adding League Leaders Shield honours later that year. Unfortunately, a knee injury suffered in that game side lined Ward for a year and prevented him playing in the Treble winning Grand Final at Old Trafford. However, he added a second Grand Final winners ring in 2017 with a heroic performance. In total, he made 136 appearances for the club, scoring 23 tries.
Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Richard Agar commented, “It is always disappointing when any player is forced to retire from the game prematurely due to injury but especially so when it is someone with so much talent and potential as Stevie Ward. I know that our medical team have worked tirelessly with Stevie this year to try and find a positive outcome however unfortunately Stevie has now taken the difficult decision to begin the next stage of his journey after rugby. On a personal level, when I became Head Coach back in 2018, Stevie was one of the senior players who was a catalyst for change and getting the club back to our core values. Having made Stevie our captain a year ago, personally it is sad to see his career end this way but I am sure he will continue his work with Mantality and bring the same level of professionalism and expertise to his future work that he has shown on the field throughout his career.”
Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield added, “On behalf of everyone at the Rhinos, we would like to thank Stevie for his contribution to the club throughout his career. Having come through our Academy ranks he has gone to be a Challenge Cup and Grand Final winner. I had the pleasure of playing alongside him and we wish him all the best for the future.”
We will a special 30 minute interview with Stevie Ward available to watch tonight from 7pm as he looks back on his career at the Rhinos following today’s announcement. Click here to subscribe for free.