Kevin Sinfield OBE

DOB
12/09/1980
Birth Place
Oldham
Position
Loose Forward
Honours
Great Britain, England
Heritage Number
1298
APPS
521
POINTS
3967

BIOGRAPHY

Debut: Vs Sheffield Eagles (H) 22nd August 1997

Leeds Honours: Grand Final (Winner: 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015; Finalist: 2005), Challenge Cup (Winner: 2014, 2015; Finalist: 2003, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012), World Club (Winner: 2005, 2008, 2012; Finalist: 2009, 2010, 2013), League Leaders’ Shield (2004, 2009, 2015)

Kevin Sinfield is quite simply the greatest captain in the club’s history having led his team to seven Championships during his time at the helm and the decade he has worn the captain’s armband will be remembered as a golden era that has brought unprecedented success.

His services to the game were recognised in 2014 when he was awarded a MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and he fulfilled a long held ambition to finally lead his side to glory in the Challenge Cup.

In 2012 he became the leading points scorer in the club’s history and finished his career third in the all time list of points scorers in the history of the game.

Kevin has always been recognised as an extremely special player since he joined the Rhinos in 1996 and made his debut whilst still a 16-year-old against Sheffield at Headingley in 1997. He went onto be part of the squad that made it to the 1999 and 2000 Challenge Cup Final, only to miss out on a place in the Final line up.

In 2003 he was appointed as captain of the Rhinos by Daryl Powell and led the side to the Challenge Cup Final with a dramatic touchline conversion against St Helens in the semi final to send the game into extra time.

In 2004 he led the side to their first ever Grand Final victory and the first league title in 32 years. In 2005, he then lifted the World title as well as appearing in another Cup and Grand Final, winning the Lance Todd trophy in the the Cardiff Cup Final defeat to Hull FC.

There were further accolades in 2009 when he added the Harry Sunderland Award as Leeds secured an unprecedented three titles in a row.

2012 was another outstanding year for the Rhinos captain as he guided his Rhinos side to a second consecutive Super League title, was named the Harry Sunderland winner for the second time, secured World Club honours, was named the England captain and won the Autumn international series.  He was also recognised for his achievements by becoming only the fourth Englishman ever to win the prestigious Rugby League Golden Boot.

Fittingly in his 521st and final game for the club, Kevin made history again as Leeds completed a record breaking treble in 2015. He finished his playing career with 3,968 points including 1,832 goals.

Off the field, in 2008 Sinfield graduated with a BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science degree at Leeds Beckett University before adding a MA in Sport Business.

After his playing career had finished, Sinfield successfully transitioned to the management of the sport in his role as Performance Director for the Rugby Football League. He created and implemented a programme of change within the national team which resulted in the England team reaching the men’s World Cup Final in 2017 before winning a home test series against New Zealand the following year. Alongside returning the mens team to the top of the international game, Sinfield also pioneered the womens and wheelchair teams with the womens team being paid for the first time in the game’s history for their groundbreaking tour of Papua New Guinea in 2019 and ensuring support for the England Wheelchair team’s tour of Australia in the same year. That ‘one sport’ philosophy that Sinfield supported has resulted in the 2021 World Cup being the first international sports event to host concurrent World Cups across men, women and wheelchair versions of the code.

Having left his role at the RFL in 2019, Sinfield returned full time to his former club at Leeds Rhinos putting his legacy as a legendary player on the line to take up a new position as Director of Rugby to try and help return the club to past glories. His drive to promote young, local players resulted in the club winning the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 2020.

Sinfield is a patron of the Yorkshire Kidney Research Fund and the James Milner Foundation as well as a Vice President for the Leeds Rugby Foundation, and an ambassador for the State of Mind charity that raises awareness of mental health issues amongst young men in particular. He is also an ambassador for the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup in England in 2021.

However, it is his work in support of Rob Burrow that he gained national recognition. Burrow was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in December aged just 37, two years after retiring from the sport and with three children under the age of 8 to support. Sinfield immediately became a figurehead for the campaign to support Burrow, helping to organise a testimonial game in front of a sell out crowd at Emerald Headingley Stadium as well as forging a friendship with Scottish Rugby Union international Doddie Weir, himself diagnosed with MND in 2017.

That was followed in December 2020 with his 7 in 7 Challenge when he led a small team of six volunteers to run seven marathons in seven days, each in under four hours, to raise funds and awareness for Burrow and the MND Association. The original aim was to raise £77,777 – the number seven being significant as it was Burrow’s old playing number.

However, such was the public outpouring of support for Sinfield and the hope engendered by the friendship between Sinfield and Burrow that the original target was surpassed on the opening day. Sinfield and his team would go on to raise over £2.7m for the MND community. However, more than just garnering the vital financial support for those impacted by MND, Sinfield also gave a voice to the families and individuals impacted by this cruel disease. A daily video panel allowed Sinfield to speak directly to those families and the organisations who are supporting them to put the public spotlight. Over 2.2 million people watched Sinfield on BBC Breakfast to spark a national conversation about motor neurone disease and bringing attention to the disease, which was particularly important during the global pandemic when many vulnerable individuals were left feeling isolated and alone as they dealt with their own diagnosis.

Having been awarded a MBE in 2014 for his services to Rugby League, in June 2021, Sinfield was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his fundraising efforts. Back at the Rhinos, after announcing his departure to join Leicester Tigers’ coaching staff, Sinfield became the 16th member of the club’s Hall of Fame.