Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield made a shocking announcement today, the 31st March. Given the date, you could be forgiven for thinking it was an early April Fools joke. The all-time leading points scorer for the Rhinos, and arguably the greatest Rugby League Captain ever, Kevin Sinfield has announced he is leaving the Rhinos to join Rugby Union side Yorkshire Carnegie. It won’t be tough for fans to see Sinfield as Carnegie play at the same stadium in Headingley and it’s a move that will see him stay in Leeds.

In a press conference, he said:

This was one of the toughest decisions of my career but I know the time is right for me to finish my time in rugby league and embark on a new challenge with Yorkshire Carnegie. I never wanted to play against the Rhinos and, through my career, I’ve always had an admiration for rugby union and wanted to challenge myself.”

The Leeds Rhinos captain has led the team to six championships in the last decade and has been constant in the Leeds team since 1997 when he made his professional debut. Unquestionably Sinfield’s best achievement for Leeds is the three successive Grand Final victories, which he rounded off by winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy and scoring six points in the final against St Helens.

After this, success started to become harder to come by. By 2012, Rhinos were reduced to finishing 5th in the League Table and were given virtually no chance of winning the playoffs. However, four wins in a row – over Wakefield, Catalan, Wigan and Warrington – saw Leeds Rhinos do the unthinkable and win the Super League again. Kevin Sinfield won the Harry Sunderland trophy again, getting 27 (out of a possible 33) votes for Man of the Match.

In a heartfelt speech after the match, Sinfield said:

We’ve been here before. We’ve been behind. When they scored first at the start, Jamie Jones-Buchanan said ‘We’ve been here before fellas, we never score first. But you just don’t stop believing. Thankfully we found a way to win. We’re getting good hidings throughout the year and things aren’t going well but you stick with it.”

And to round off his fantastic Rhinos career, after various failed attempts, he finally added the Challenge Cup to his cabinet in 2014.

We’ve been lucky to have been blessed with Kevin Sinfield’s skill, dedication and loyalty over the past 18 years – best of luck, Kev.