YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE head coach Bryan Redpath admits news of Kevin Sinfield’s switch from Leeds Rhinos came as a pleasant surprise to him.
The former Scotland scrum-half only took charge at Headingley on March 13 and he has quickly overseen a couple of much-needed wins against Plymouth Albion and Jersey.
But the planned arrival of ex-England rugby league captain Sinfield in November on an 18-month deal was never mentioned as part of his own discussions about joining.
Clearly, securing such a talent has proved an added bonus for the ex-Sale Sharks coach as he plots Carnegie’s path out of the Championship.
“For me coming in, I had no idea until very recently,” said Redpath, about a closely-guarded announcement that stunned both codes.
“But I’ve known Kev on and off for quite a long time. My friend Carl Hogg used to play here at Leeds Tykes (2001-04) and he and Kev were mates and have always kept in touch.
“During my seven years at Gloucester, his name actually cropped up on two or three occasions about potentially moving across.
“Then, obviously, he signed big, long-term deals at Leeds but he’s always had an interest in the game as I have with rugby league.”
Redpath added: “There’ll be another three or four signings hopefully by the end of the week to strengthen the squad again.
“There’s some bright young lads here like Jack Walker, Paul Hill and Chris Walker who I believe should be diehards of this club and the ones to drive it forward. Signing someone like Kev ... they should be buzzing about that.”