Kevin Sinfield: Leeds Rhinos legend's glorious career in pictures

Kevin Sinfield
Kevin Sinfield made his rugby union debut for Yorkshire Carnegie against Ospreys Premiership Select XV in the British & Irish Cup in November last year

Sunday's defeat for Yorkshire Carnegie by Doncaster Knights in the Championship play-offs brought an end to Kevin Sinfield's dazzling career.

As the 35-year-old retires from all forms of rugby, BBC Sport looks back on the Leeds Rhinos legend's near 20-year career across both codes.

The beginning

Sinfield made his debut for the Rhinos against Sheffield Eagles in 1997, aged just 16.

Looking back on his first club appearance on the eve of his 500th career game he told BBC Radio Leeds: "I made my debut the day after I got my GCSE results and I was just a boy coming into a man's game."

Kevin Sinfield
Representing his country on home turf in the 2000 World Cup. England beat Fiji 66-10 in this group stage game at Headingley but were eliminated by New Zealand in the semi-finals

The stand-off was appointed Rhinos captain in December 2002, three months after his 22nd birthday.

"I think if you'd offered me what the club has gone on to achieve back on that day in 2002 I would have snapped your hand off," he told the BBC in 2012.

"We'd lost Iestyn Harris a year and half before and Francis Cummins had been doing a great job as captain. It could have gone to any number of the senior players but fortunately I was offered the job.

"It was tough to start with because I was trying to lead blokes who were 10 years older than me and had a lot of Great Britain and England caps."

Despite his trepidation, Sinfield was a near-instant success, leading the club to their first Grand Final win in October 2004.

Kevin Sinfield
Sinfield standing next to a buoy wearing a cap and a hoody before the Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens in 2003. No, I'm not sure why either
Kevin Sinfield
Tasting victory in the Super League Grand Final for the first of seven times. Sinfield kicked four goals to help Leeds to a 16-8 victory over Bradford Bulls in the 2004 showpiece
Kevin Sinfield and Danny McGuire
World champion at Elland Road at in 2005. Sinfield kicked five goals and a drop-goal in a thrilling 39-32 win over Canterbury Bulldogs

Building a dynasty

Kevin Sinfield
In full flow against Salford in February 2007. The season would end with a second Grand Final triumph
England v New Zealand
Getting to know New Zealand's Adam Blair in the Four Nations match between England and the Kiwis in 2009
Kevin Sinfield
Lining up a kick for the Rhinos in a New Year's Day friendly against Wakefield in 2011
Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Kevin Sinfield and Ryan Bailey
Celebrating his fifth Grand Final win with fellow Leeds stalwarts Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Ryan Bailey in October 2011
Kevin Sinfield
Seeing red in the name of Sport Relief in 2012. St Helens weren't in such charitable mood though, as they hammered the Rhinos 46-6

England woe and ending Challenge Cup wait

Sinfield was appointed England captain in October 2012, replacing club team-mate Jamie Peacock.

One year on he suffered his biggest disappointment with the national side. The hosts were leading New Zealand 18-14 in the dying seconds of their World Cup semi-final at Wembley when Shaun Johnson's last-minute try set up the Kiwis for a sensational victory.

Sinfield, who played in three World Cups, retired from international rugby league the following year.

Kevin Sinfield
So close and yet so far... a dejected Sinfield stands with England coach Steve MacNamara after New Zealand's last-minute win in the 2013 World Cup semi-final at Wembley
Sinfield, McGuire and Hall
Despite his success with the Rhinos, the Challenge Cup seemed like it was destined to elude the Leeds skipper. Sinfield lost five finals in the competition before finally tasting success with victory over Castleford in 2014

Royal recognition and a fitting finale

Kevin Sinfield
Suits you sir. The man known as 'Sir Kev' by Leeds fans collected his MBE for services to rugby league in November 2014

In March 2015 Sinfield surprised the sporting world when he announced his intention to switch codes and finish his career with rugby union side Yorkshire Carnegie.

That still left him time to win three more trophies with the Rhinos, ending his league career with his first treble.

Leeds Rhinos Grand Final Trophy
Sinfield helped Leeds to a 22-20 win over Wigan in 2015's Grand Final before bowing out from league. Danny McGuire, left, succeeded him as Rhinos captain for the 2016 campaign
SPOTY winners
More personal recognition: Sinfield came second to Andy Murray in 2015's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards. World champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill came third

After scoring 3,698 points in 521 games for the Rhinos, Sinfield joined Carnegie on an 18-month deal in November 2015.

However, in April he announced that he would be retiring from all forms of rugby at the end of Carnegie's play-off campaign.

"I have always said that some day I will need to get a proper job and that day has now come," he said.

"I have been privileged and deeply honoured to have enjoyed a 20-year career as a professional rugby player and to retire, on my own terms rather than through injury, is something I feel lucky to be able to do."

Kevin Sinfield
Sinfield in action for Carnegie. Bryan Redpath's side were beaten by Doncaster Knights in the Championship play-off semi-finals to bring an end to his career

Top Stories