RUGBY LEGEND Kevin Sinfield has announced he will retire from professional rugby at the end of the current Greene King IPA Championship Rugby Union season.
Grotton-based Sinfield, the former Leeds Rhinos and England Rugby League captain, switched codes to Yorkshire Carnegie in November 2015.
He has helped the team reach the British and Irish Cup Final and the end of season play offs when they take on Doncaster Knights on Sunday, May 1 at Headingley Carnegie in the semi-final first leg, kick off 3pm.
Sinfield, who was runner up in the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year last December, has made 14 appearances for the side and is set to return for Sunday’s game.
The former Waterhead juniors player ended his Rugby League career last October after leading Leeds Rhinos to the treble in his final game for the club at Old Trafford.
The decade he wore the captain’s armband will be remembered as a golden era that brought unprecedented success.
Sinfield said: “I have been privileged and deeply honoured to have enjoyed a 20-year career and to retire on my own terms rather than through injury is something I feel lucky to be able to do.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the last seven months with Yorkshire Carnegie and I would like to thank the coaches, players and supporters for making me feel so welcome.
“A number of opportunities have become available to me for life after rugby and I need to make the right decision for me and my family.
“However, before then we have got hopefully four massive games ahead of us, starting this Sunday against a very good Doncaster side at Headingley Carnegie.”
Yorkshire Carnegie Head Coach Bryan Redpath added: “It has been great to have Kevin involved in our squad, especially for the large number of young players we have.
“He is a total professional and the example he sets is something all young players can aspire to.
“He has had an incredible career and it has been great for us to have him finish his career as a Yorkshire Carnegie player.
“He is a natural winner and that attitude and drive will be more important than ever for us as we head into the play offs looking to book our return to the Aviva Premiership.”
Kevin joined the Rhinos in 1996 and made his debut whilst still a 16-year-old against Sheffield at Headingley in 1997.
In 2003 he was appointed as captain then in 2004 led the side to their first ever Grand Final victory and first league title in 32 years.
He lifted the World title in 2005 and there were further accolades in 2009 when he added the Harry Sunderland Award as Leeds secured an unprecedented three titles in a row.
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 – with 3,968 points – in the history of Rugby League.
He also 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.
His services to Rugby League 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 the Rhinos to glory in the Challenge Cup.
Fittingly in his 521st and final game for the Rhinos in 2015, Kevin made history again as Leeds completed a record-breaking treble.