Hero Jonesy to end career at Leeds Rhinos

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SIX-TIME CHAMPION Jamie Jones-Buchanan is a “Rhino for life” after signing a new contract which will take him to the age of 35.

Jones-Buchanan’s previous deal was due to expire at the end of the coming season, but that has been extended until the autumn of 2016.

Now 32, Jones-Buchanan made his Leeds debut in 1999 and is the club’s second-longest serving player, behind skipper Kevin Sinfield.

The England forward was a member of all Rhinos’ six Grand Final and three World Club Challenge-winning teams and has made a total of 307 appearances for the club.

Speaking after putting pen to paper on his new deal, Jones-Buchanan said: “I am pleased, this will make me a Rhino for life.

“It has always been an honour for me to be a bit of a patriarch – I had one amateur club and one professional club and that means a lot to me.

“It is something I will hold in high regard when I look back, especially being able to do it at Leeds with all the success we’ve had over the last few years and with it being my home town club.

“The novelty has never won off. Even at the stage I am now, with all the mileage and all the journeys I have been on, the hairs never stop standing up on the back of my neck.

“Playing in a blue and amber shirt, in front of friends and family in the South Stand, it means as much to me now as it did on day one.”

The former Stanningley amateur insisted he still has things to achieve in the game.

“You never get tired of winning games, finals and trophies and you never get bored of the competition,” he stated.

“This group has never won the Challenge Cup. I want to win that and it will be interesting to play in the new structure that’s coming in next year as well, but it’s not about me, it is about Leeds Rhinos as a club.

“It is about the team on the pitch and what the club does in the local community. I am under no illusions, I have signed for another three years, but I need to perform for those three years.

“If that is not the case somebody else will come in and take my spot.”

The new contract is likely to be his last, Jones-Buchanan admitted.

“I have not set a date for when I’ll retire,” he said. “But there is a lot of good stuff going on with the Leeds Rugby Foundation and other things I am involved in and hopefully I’ll be able to carry on with that. Also, we have got a lot of good young kids coming through who are going to be the next generation.

“This contract will take me to 35 and that’s a ripe old age for a rugby player, but having said that JP (Jamie Peacock) and Kylie (Leuluai) are flying the flag, they are still enjoying it and they are playing as well as ever. I will think about it further down the line, but at the moment I just want to carry on with the lads and go on a few more journeys.”

Coach Brian McDermott has welcomed Jones-Buchanan’s decision to play on.

He said: “Jamie is at the core of our club, not just because of what he does on the field, but what he offers off it as well.

“As part of the group of five players who have won six Grand Finals his place in the history books of the club is already assured, but his enthusiasm for what still lies ahead helps to drive everyone on.”

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Matt Parcell.

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