End of an era: Kevin Sinfield calls time on his playing days

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LEGEND Kevin Sinfield admits he feels “lucky” to retire on his own terms after calling time on his career in professional rugby today.

The 35-year-old hang up his boots at the end of his one and only rugby union season with Yorkshire Carnegie in the Greene King IPA Championship.

Kevin Sinfield says goodbye to Leeds Rhinos' fans at Old Trafford last year.

Kevin Sinfield says goodbye to Leeds Rhinos' fans at Old Trafford last year.

The former Leeds Rhinos and England Rugby League captain switched codes to Carnegie in November 2015 and has helped his new team reach the British & Irish Cup Final as well as the end-of-season play offs. which see them take on Doncaster Knights this Sunday at Headingley Carnegie in the semi final first leg (3pm).

Sinfield, runner up in last year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year last December, ended his League career last October after leading the Rhinos to the treble in his final game for the club at Old Trafford, capping a decade under his leadership of unrivalled succecss in the sport.

“I have been privileged and deeply honoured to have enjoyed a 20-year career as a professional rugby player and to retire, on my own terms rather than through injury, is something I feel lucky to be able to do,” said Sinfield.

“I have always said that some day I will need to get a proper job and that day has now come. 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.

LEGEND: Kevin Sinfield, centre, with Leeds Rhinos' team-mates Jamie peacock, left and Kylie Leuluai after completing the treble at Old Trafford last year. Picture: Steve Riding.

LEGEND: Kevin Sinfield, centre, with Leeds Rhinos' team-mates Jamie peacock, left and Kylie Leuluai after completing the treble at Old Trafford last year. Picture: Steve Riding.

“I have always gave total commitment to every team I have ever played in and therefore I have decided to hang up my boots at the end of this season. 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.”

Carnegie head coach, Bryan Redpath, added, “It has been great to have Kevin involved in our squad this season, especially for the large number of young players we have in our group.

“He is a total professional and the example he sets is something that all young players can aspire to. He has had an incredible career in Rugby League and it has been great for us to have him finish his career as a Yorkshire Carnegie player.”

Sinfield’s 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.

NEW DIRECTION: 
Kevin Sinfield, in action for Yorkshire Carnegie earlier this season.

NEW DIRECTION: Kevin Sinfield, in action for Yorkshire Carnegie earlier this season.

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 sport.

Sinfield joined the Rhinos in 1996 and made his debut while aged only 16 against Sheffield at Headingley in 1997.

In 2004, a year after being appointed captain by then coach Daryl powell, he led the side to their first ever Grand Final victory and the first league title in 32 years.

A year later, he then lifted the World title as well as appearing in another Cup and Grand Final, winning the Lance Todd trophy in the Cardiff Cup Final defeat to Hull FC.

He was also recognised for his achievements by becoming only the fourth Englishman ever to win the prestigious Golden Boot and, fittingly, fittingly in his 521st and final game for the Rhinos, Sinfield made history again as Leeds completed a record breaking treble in 2015.

He finished with 3,968 points including 1,832 goals.

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