LEEDS RHINOS legend Kevin Sinfield is set to make his Headingley rugby union debut when Yorkshire Carnegie face London Welsh in the Championship on Friday, November 27.
Sinfield is in his first full week of training with Carnegie after switching codes last month.
Coach Bryan Redpath will name his side for tomorrow’s Championship trip to Bedford this afternoon and has not ruled Sinfield out, but it is more likely he will be eased in during forthcoming British and Irish Cup matches against Ospreys at Huddersfield and away to Munster ‘A’, before returning to Headingley at the end of this month.
“He is available from now on,” Redpath said of the former Rhinos and England rugby league skipper. “It has to be the right thing for him and for the team too.
“It’s not just because it’s Kev, we’ve got to make sure he is armed with enough ammunition to go into a game, have an impact in a game and also change a game.
“When we feel that’s right there’ll be conversations between me and Kev and the other coaches and ultimately when he’s ready, we’ll get him in. I think he will learn quicker from playing as much as possible.
“I will pick what I think’s the right team. If Kev’s training and he earns the right to play I will play him. If he doesn’t, he won’t. I think we’d look to develop him as much as possible over the next month or so and the B and I allows us to do that. Ultimately if he puts his hand up for the big games after that, great.”
Redpath said he has been impressed with the way Sinfield – who is set to play at fly-half – has adapted to training in his new code.
“He has gone really well,” Redpath said.
“He trained three days last week and game week has been a bit different. Last week was more conditioning and core skills and this week has had a certain theme to it, playing against Bedford.
“He has fitted in really well. He has got so much to learn in some ways, but the fact is last week we just put him straight in and gave him a simple framework to work off and said ‘go in and execute that’ and I take my hat off to him, he has come in, swallowed up a lot of information and used it.
“But ultimately it is repetition and getting used to things and the picture changes when you throw him in a game.
“He has been training really well and ultimately he wants to put his hand up as soon as he can. He has taken everything on board. Last week he came off the session and you could see his eyes were going round, but he was brilliant.
“He loved it, he enjoyed it and it is a different challenge for him. He is keen to learn and he wants to earn his stripes with the lads.
“He has been respectful to everyone and he is an honest man. He doesn’t say anything that doesn’t need to be said, he just gets on with it. He has got lots to learn, but he is impressing everyone in terms of how quickly and how easy it is for him to make that transition.
Redpath confirmed: If he plays, he will kick. Harry [Leonard] has been great, he has got an 84 per cent goal kicking average, which is high. Joel [Hodgson] is a little bit lower, but hasn’t played as much. But Kev’s goal kicking is second to none and he will take that responsibility.”