Kevin Sinfield back at Leeds Rhinos as Director of Rugby

Kevin Sinfield - new Director of Rugby at Leeds
Kevin Sinfield - new Director of Rugby at Leeds

Former Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield is returning to the club as their first director of rugby with immediate effect - and he will take charge of his first game on Sunday when the Rhinos travel to Castleford.

Sinfield was unveiled as the successor to the sacked head coach Brian McDermott at a press conference at Headingley, where another former Leeds player and assistant coach James Lowes was named as the new first team coach on a full-time basis.

He will also take on a number of roles previously performed by chief executive Gary Hetherington.

Sinfield is out of contract with the Rugby Football League at the end of the current season and will continue to have an involvement with the RFL's England Performance Unit one day a week until the end of 2018.

Hetherington, who sacked McDermott at the start of the week, says Sinfield will have an all-encompassing role at the club.

"He will have responsibility for all rugby matters including team selection, preparation, performance and results of the first team," Hetherington said.

"He will handle all first team player promotion, retention and recruitment moving forward and oversee our coaching staff management and appraisal. Kevin will also have control of the vital link between our academy and the first team working with head of academy coaching Rob Burrow."

Sinfield, who described his appointment as a "dream", says Lowes, a former head coach of Bradford and Warrington, will conduct most of the coaching.

"I don't think you get many opportunities to join the biggest club of the game," Sinfield told the news conference. "It's a dream job. James Lowes will do a fantastic job. I will be overseeing the coaching and I'll be on the field but not hands on."

Hetherington said Sinfield has been appointed with no fixed term but the coaching staff will be reviewed at end of the season.

Sinfield, who had a brief spell in rugby unon with Yorkshire Carnegie after bringing his Rhinos playing career to an end after the 2015 Grand-Final triumph, has been working for two days a week with the RFL and will retain his links with the governing body.

RFL interim chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: "I would like to congratulate Kevin on his appointment as director of rugby at Leeds Rhinos.

"Kevin has been a fantastic addition to our team at the Rugby Football League and I am delighted he has agreed to continue with part of his role in leading the England Performance Unit."

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