Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott believes Kevin Sinfield’s international retirement will be beneficial to both his side and his captain’s future career.
Sinfield announced last week that he would not take part in this autumn’s Four Nations in Australia and New Zealand or add to his 26 England caps and 14 Great Britain appearances in the future.
“This is a decision I have taken a great deal of time over and it has been the toughest of my professional career,” said Sinfield.
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“I have always loved playing for my country and it has been a privilege and honour to lead my country for the last two seasons.
“I want to be able to perform at the highest possible level whenever I take the field and I believe that by taking this decision, it will enable me to do that for the Rhinos for the remainder of my career.”
And McDermott feels Sinfield will be able to achieve that aim, especially having seen first hand how a full pre-season has benefitted Rhinos forward Jamie Peacock in recent years.
“Jamie has probably been, visually, the most tired man to play our game,” explained McDermott.
“But over the last two seasons he’s been running about and producing the goods and is one of, if not, the best prop in the game and all because he’s had a proper pre-season.
“It will be exciting to see what Kev might gain and how his game might change and develop on the back of a pre-season. He is the ultimate professional and has made sacrifices here, there and everywhere to make sure he is ready for the start of the year, even though may have only had a two-week pre-season. But the fact that he may now have a 12 week pre-season may just add another year onto his career.
“It’s a shame for England because he is a sensational leader and the international team needs strong players like him. Hopefully though we might reap some benefits from this decision.”