Leeds Rhinos: Kevin Sinfield thanks rugby league family for rallying round Rob Burrow
EMOTIONAL LEEDS Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield has thanked the “rugby league family” for supporting Rob Burrow as he begins life with motor neurone disease (MND).
Within hours of the diagnosis being made public more than 600 tickets had been sold for Rhinos’ pre-season game at home to Bradford Bulls next month, which will be a fund-raiser for Burrow and his family, as well as Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s testimonial.
Though a one-club man with Leeds, making 492 appearances, Burrow is also hugely popular across rugby league and an online donation page – www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/robburrow – had raised more than £70,000 by noon on Friday.
Burrow spoke to the BBC and Yorkshire Evening Post to break the news of his illness.
Sinfield, who consoled his former team-mate when Burrow broke down during the television interview, admitted to being “devastated” at his friend’s condition, but also moved by the reaction from across the rugby league world.
“It has been overwhelming, the support we’ve had already,” Sinfield said.
“It is really tough, but the club have been absolutely fantastic and the support has been unbelievable.
“The club, spectators, past players and wider sport of rugby league have really come together on this and stood tall for Rob.”
MND is a terminal illness, but Burrow – who is continuing in his role as Rhinos’ reserve team coach – has pledged to fight it every step of the way.
“Where he’s at [eight days after being diagnosed] is remarkable,” Sinfield added.
“He is a tower of strength and he’s absolutely determined and really positive. He’s going to give it everything he has got and that group [Burrow’s team-mates] will come together behind him like they always have in tough moments.
“We want to make sure his family, Lindsey and the kids, are looked after. That’s really important to all of us because it means Rob’s mind is not concerned with what’s next. He can concentrate on enjoying and creating some fantastic memories with his family. We’ll make sure everyone’s there for Rob and gives him that support he needs.”