Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield will be a success at Leicester Tigers says former teammate Francis Cummins

The man who preceded him as Leeds Rhinos captain, Francis Cummins, reckons Kevin Sinfield has “all the attributes” to be a success in rugby union.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 6:26 pm

Rhinos' director of rugby will join Leicester Tigers as defence coach at the end of the 2021 Betfred Super League season.

Cummins, who was a teammate of Sinfield’s at opposite ends of their playing careers, has coached in the 15-a-side code for Doncaster Knights.

He feels Sinfield’s first task will be to earn the respect of the Leicester players, but is confident he can handle the challenge.

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Francis Cummins, left, looks on as Kevin Sinfield scores agianst Widnes in 1999. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
Francis Cummins, left, looks on as Kevin Sinfield scores agianst Widnes in 1999. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

Sinfield had a season playing union, with Yorkshire Carnegie, but no coaching experience in that sport.

Cummins said: “I am sure he will fit in, he has had a taste of it with Carnegie.

“It has got to be a part of you, you have got to give it your full go.

“Obviously he has got the intelligence, it’s just about making it work.

Francis Cummins, centre and Kevin Sinfield, right, in training with Rhinos during 2005. The other player is Mark Calderwood. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“He has all the attributes and his commitment is non-negotiable, that’s what Kev is.

“I am sure he will give it 100 per cent.

“There’s stuff he has learned throughout his career, it’s just a case of putting it across and making sure everyone buys into it.

“In coaching you have to find different approaches at times, because there’s different characters in the group.”

Sinfield won’t have any difficulty being accepted in the rival game, Cummins believes.

“The perception of rugby league is really good around other sports,” he said.

“There’s always that joke and I am sure they will be putting the fake northern accent on, but that’s part of it, part of the craic.

“You’ve got to stand in front of - in rugby union it can be 50-odd - blokes and earn their respect.

“It goes back to values and people respecting you for what you are and what you’re doing.

“That’s the first thing you’ve got to get. You’ve got to be able to show them a few things and Kev’s been around a long time, worked with some good coaches, so he will have picked up some things from them.”

Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick hailed Sinfield as an “incredible” appointment.

He said: “The vast and unique experience Kevin will bring to our coaching means he is a great addition to our team.

“He is a serial winner and an inspirational character who possesses the hard-working and tough qualities we want at Leicester Tigers.

“This is an announcement everybody involved with Leicester Tigers should be excited about.”

Rhinos coach Richard Agar said he is “really sorry” to see Sinfield leave.

“I have really enjoyed working for him,” he said. “He will remain a legend and an iconic person at the club and always will.”

He added: “Life moves on and Kev has made a decision which is best for him and his family and I support him in that.”

The Evening Post understands there will be no imminent decision on a replacement for Sinfield.

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