Leeds Rhinos: JP set for exit

Jamie Peacock
Jamie Peacock
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ONE of the greatest careers in Leeds Rhinos’ history will come to an end when Jamie Peacock leaves the club this autumn.

The former England captain – who had already announced he will hang up his boots at the end of this year – is to join Super League rivals Hull Kingston Rovers ahead of the 2016 campaign as football manager.

“I have had a great time at Leeds and learnt so much about how the club is run from top to bottom,” said Peacock. “The Rhinos are a blueprint for a successful sporting business and the challenge for me now is to take those lessons and try and implement my own thoughts in a new environment.”

Peacock is in the 19-man squad for today’s clash with Catalans Dragons in Perpignan and he added: “Now that I have the next chapter of my career finalised, I am fully focused on finishing my time with Leeds as strongly as possible and leaving my home town club in the best possible position.”

Of the reasons behind his shock switch to East Yorkshire, the 37-year-old prop-forward said: “Hull KR are a club with huge potential within a city that is rugby league mad and have invested wisely in their facilities in recent years.

“I know a number of people over there already and I am looking forward to working with Chris Chester, Willie Poching, Mike Smith and Neil Hudgell in my new role.”

He continued: “Whenever we have gone over there to play, it is clear Rovers have a fanatical supporter base.

“I think it is vital that you have a hard core of good people who want the club to succeed to be able to build and plan for development in the future.”

Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington described Peacock’s move as an “inspired appointment” by Hull KR.

He said: “I know Jamie will be very good at what will be a very different challenge.

“He has been at the heart of all our success over the past decade and his performances and influence at the club cannot be overestimated. He will leave a lasting legacy and all our best wishes will be with him when he swaps his training kit for a new suit at the end of the season.”

Peacock joined Rhinos from Bradford Bulls after the 2005 season and has won five Grand Finals with Leeds, plus two World Club Challenges and the Challenge Cup last year.

Peacock has more than 500 appearances under his belt and was made an MBE in 2012 for services to the game.

The Rhinos say they offered the veteran forward an off-field role for after he retired, but he preferred a fresh challenge.

Ironically, his appointment was announced the day one of his teammates – Ryan Bailey – was released from his Hull KR contract for “personal reasons” after making just one substitute appearance.

Bailey joined Rovers in the off-season after being freed from his Leeds deal.

Meanwhile, Hetherington said the club’s internal investigation into players Zak Hardaker and Elliot Minchella – who have admitted an assault in Leeds last month – is unlikely to be concluded before late next week. Hetherington said the behaviour of several other players is also being looked into.